How do I become a Facilitator?

A major feature of A New Language is that a facilitator of the group does not need to be a theologian.  Our program combines Saint John Paul II’s reflections, with text from Dr. Shivanandan’s book Crossing the Threshold of Love, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, ensuring that the facilitator is well provided with authoritative sources.

Facilitators do need to be certified and can receive certification two ways. The first is by attending one of our Facilitator Formation Day (FFD) trainings. Imago Dei offers an annual FFD in the Washington, DC area. Additionally, we have an on-line training program available. For larger parish or diocesan groups, Imago Dei can also do in person trainings to groups across the country. The second way you can receive certification is by completing all 24- sessions of our study guide as a participant in an A New Language study group.

Why do I need to be certified to lead a study group?

To ensure the integrity of the program, Imago Dei requires each facilitator to pledge fidelity to the Magisterium and to attend a Facilitator Formation Day (FFD) to learn the fine points of presenting and leading groups. A mentor provides facilitators one-on-one guidance and support as they embark on their study group experiences.

How long does the process of certification take? How long does it take to ship books to me?

Our FFD sessions generally run about six hours and participants receive a certificate at the completion of training. Once a mentor is assigned and a group is formed we can ship the study guides right away. 

What ages is your program appropriate for?

Imago Dei offers two A New Language study guide programs for participants to choose from.  

  1. Youth Edition – offers 12-session study guide that is appropriate for participants in their Junior and Senior year in High School, college students, or groups that cannot commit to completing the full 24-session guide.
  2. Third Edition – is a 24-session study guide program that encourages married, single and religious participants to explore the Theology of the Body in a group setting (the third edition is available in English and Spanish and an Italian edition is in preparation).

What makes your program different from other TOB study programs?

The study guide A New Language was founded on two principles:

  1. People learn best when they participate actively in prayerful study and exploration.
  2. Each participant’s experiences are valuable, not only to the participant, but to all the members of the group.

Comprising 24 sessions, the guide uses a participatory format that allows study group members -- led by trained facilitators -- to explore and understand John Paul II’s teaching in the context of their own experiences. This group experience has a transforming effect, drawing all to a deeper understanding and practice of their faith and their role in society. Participants discover what it truly means to be created in the image and likeness of God; they appreciate more deeply their masculinity and femininity and vocation to life; they hear the call to communion with others and with the Holy Trinity in the married, single, and consecrated states.

How long is each session and how often do your groups meet?

Each session is 90 minutes long and groups meet as often as once a week or as infrequently as once a month depending on the availability of the group.

Why is the study guide called A New Language?

Saint John Paul II has always recognized the importance of language.  It frames not only our way of thinking but our behavior.  When we speak of fornication, we are reminded that sex before marriage is disordered.  The sociologists knew this so deliberately changed the language to premarital sex which makes it sound benign.  Saint John Paul II not only restored biblical language for speaking about sexuality but brings out the full meaning of the spousal language in Sacred Scripture that reveals the nature of God’s incomparable love for his people.  The Old Testament equates the idolatry of the Israelites to adultery.  The body itself, said Saint John Paul II speaks a language of which it is not the author.   In its actions it speaks on behalf of the person, as it were truth or untruth.  When, for example, a couple engages in sex outside marriage, the body speaks the language of total commitment but the man and woman falsify that language by not making the total commitment that can only be expressed in the indissolubility of marriage.  It is the same with contraception.   When the couple withhold the gift of fertility, their union is not total.

What are the benefits participants gain from your study program?

A New Language is a study guide program that encourages participants to draw on their personal life experiences to discover the universal truths of the dignity of the human person and the beauty of human sexuality.

True mercy is to present the good news of the Gospel in all its authenticity and beauty and to invite all, those who have not strayed and those who have to share a transformative journey together.  While Imago Dei facilitators must be committed to Scripture and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, participants can come from all levels of commitment.  The experiential method of the study group allows for acceptance leading to gentle transformation.  We have seen participants give up contraception, begin healing from sexual promiscuity and live mutual self-gift, whether single, divorced or married.  A New Language, based on Saint John Paul II’s rich anthropology, is truly a gift for our time.

Who can join a study group and where can I find one?

Imago Dei’s study guide program has had growing success, successfully communicating Catholic teaching on marriage and sexuality in some 25 dioceses in the U.S. and Canada.  We are also active in Italy, Nicaragua, Mexico, and the UK. Our materials are available in English and Spanish and an Italian edition is in preparation.

Groups include men and women, married, single, divorced and widowed, consecrated religious and priests.

For more information please contact us via e-mail at tobstudy@imagodei-tob.org.

Some of these FAQs have been borrowed from http://www.christendom-awake.org/ and reprinted here with permission.

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