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Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024
The Observer

Campus Ministry, Gender Relations Center sponsor ‘Sex and the Soul Week’

Let’s talk about sex … and the soul.

This week, Campus Ministry and the Gender Relations Center (GRC) are collaborating to present the first “Sex and the Soul Week,” featuring lectures, panels and discussions about the intersection of faith and sexuality.


Kayla August, assistant director of evangelization for Campus Ministry, said there is a natural partnership between Campus Ministry and the GRC and that the deeply personal facets of faith and sexuality should be explored together.

“Knowing that God is moving in all areas of our life’s journey including where our body and soul meet,” she said, “If living a journey of faith truly involves all that we are, the way we live out our sexuality is part of our universal call to holiness.”

Sara Agostinelli, assistant director for LGBTQ student initiatives at the GRC, echoed the importance of this partnership.

“[We want to] engage and look at authenticity … the intersection of faith with sexuality [by combining] both of our expertise and content knowledge areas [in order to] provide education and also a place of reflection and learning for our campus community,” she said.

The theme of this week is relevant, August said, because discussions of faith and sexuality have become increasingly prevalent due to the Church’s ongoing sexual abuse crisis and Pope Francis’s Vatican meeting this past weekend. August explained the necessity of conversation to bring about change.

“I believe change starts with talking about things that matter,” she said. “One of the things we need to start thinking about is what it means to discuss things like a healthy sexuality and where God is really moving in our wants and desires.”

The week’s events began Monday with a lecture by Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement. Tuesday's event, entitled “Let’s Get Intimate: Panel Discussion on Sex, Intimacy and Relationships,” will be held in the lounge of Coleman-Morse from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. The #NDSeeMeforMe social media campaign will kick off Wednesday.

Agostinelli said the goal of the campaign is to spread authenticity across campus.

“We will be encouraging people to express exactly who they are and not feel like they have to be an ‘insta or finsta’ version of themselves. [Instead they can be] their full, authentic selves,” she said.

On Thursday, the directors of Campus Ministry and the GRC — Fr. Pete McCormick and Christine Caron Gebhardt, respectively — will host a discussion about pornography. The week will wrap with a faith and sexuality gallery in the Duncan Student Center, entitled “Living in the InterSEXtion.”

“We’ve collected stories and experiences from people anonymously, looking at the intersection of faith and sexuality,” Agostinelli said. “We’re going to visually share and display some of those stories so that people have an opportunity to reflect and look at the wide variety of experiences that people here at Notre Dame are living.”

Agostinelli stressed the inclusive nature of the week.

“I hope people know that they are welcome at all of the events. … This might be a [difficult topic], but I encourage people to try something new and attend something,” she said. “I want people to know that, even if they’re not regularly involved in one office or the other … they [can] feel comfortable joining us in these conversations.”

A list with complete descriptions, times and locations of the events for each day are available under the events tab of the GRC’s website.