GREEN BAY, Wis. (CNS) — True love. It’s what every person entering into the sacrament of marriage yearns to realize.
In the days leading up to Valentine’s Day, two groups of Wisconsin college students spread the message that true love is possible and can be found by practicing “right dating relationships.”
Students from the Newman Catholic Student Community and Phoenix Students for Life at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay told fellow students that abstinence is not only possible but would lead those who practice it to their true love.
The student groups sponsored events around that theme during the week-and-a-half leading up to Valentine’s Day, dubbed True Love Week.
Franciscan Sister Laura Zelten, campus minister at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, said the goal of the True Love Week was to spread the message that students have choices when it comes to dating.
She said the week was organized to offset Sex Week on campus to be held the week of Valentine’s Day. The university’s Student Health Office offers programs on safe sex during that week.
The first event of True Love Week was Feb. 3, when students handed out fresh roses to fellow students with messages of chastity and abstinence during an annual all-campus event called “OrgSmorg,” where many campus organizations have an opportunity to promote membership to their groups.
“We thought it would be really lovely to hand out roses,” said Leslie Trochlil, a senior and secretary of the Newman Club.
On Feb. 8, they presented the popular Christian movie “Fireproof,” which tells the story of a firefighter whose job is to rescue others but is faced with having to save his marriage. The 2008 film starring Kirk Cameron has become popular as a conversation-starter in many Christian churches.
As Sister Laura explained, the film “gives the students an awareness of struggles that happen in relationships and the work it takes to make things work out for both parties in a very healthy and positive way without separation.”
On Feb. 9, they also sponsored a panel discussion featuring Phil and Maggie Kuczlowski of Wisconsin Rapids, who speak about right relationships. The parents of four, with one on the way, use the writings and examples of the saints as well as the ancient teachings of the Catholic Church to help individuals acquire the necessary skills they need to resist temptation, persevere in prayer and grow in discipleship.
A panel discussion taking place on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 10, was focusing on living a chaste life in the midst of a world with mixed messages.
True Love Week on the Green Bay campus had been in the planning stages since November.
Sara Schmitz, who teaches nutrition and dietetics at the university, is also the adviser for the university’s Phoenix Students for Life organization, named after the university’s mascot, the phoenix. “The students have really been on fire in terms of coming up with these ideas. … They were really the creative force on how they want this True Love Week to look,” she told The Compass, newspaper of the Diocese of Green Bay.
She also noted that the group is very courageous to spread their message on campus.
“It’s very heartening to say our side of the story, to say that there is another option out there,” she said.
True Love Week invited students to know there are alternatives to secular world values, said Sister Laura.
“That’s the bottom line,” she added. “This group of students isn’t going to go with the mainstream thoughts.”
Barthel writes for The Compass, newspaper of the Diocese of Green Bay.