When long-time CCPLC member Uta Trogele heard from her husband almost two years ago that they might move to Hong Kong she was in shock! As the Development Director for Generation Life she was just in the process of organizing the first annual banquet for Generation Life! “I always said to The Lord, ‘We need to bring the messages of chastity and the sanctity of life’ to the end of the world’, He took me at my word”!, Uta commented with a big smile.
Last January, the move to Asia was made and Uta reached out to the priest and the parish youth minister and told them about the wonderful young college graduates from the US who talk to their peers about sexuality and “true love”, chastity and the meaning of being a real man and woman in these days. Their response was just overwhelming! They encouraged Uta to bring a Generation Life team to Hong Kong ” because our young people need to hear this message”.
The message that these young people present – “The True Love”, is based on Theology of the Body written by Saint John Paul II. It is geared toward teens and young adults.
The doors just opened, one after another. Schools signed up, parishes requested talks for the youth and their parents and the office of education for all 317 catholic schools asked for a workshop for teachers and social workers! Also, the priest who is in charge of the Philippine migrant workers in Hong Kong requested a whole day of presentation! These women have children on their own in the Philippines, but they also take care of youngsters as maids in Hong Kong.
Cristina Barba, the Executive Director of Generation Life, was very open to that idea and agreed to bring a team of 5 missionaries to Hong Kong in October 2013.
God really provided! The money was raised for the flights and fees. There was a core group of eight local people who helped with the details necessary to bringing this project to life. Two generous Hong Kong families opened their apartments to Gen Life (this is very unusual for Hong Kong people).
In two weeks these five young missionaries spoke to 30 different groups – over 2700 people (in Hong Kong, only 4 % of the population is Catholic and of course a much smaller percent is English-speaking Catholic)
They were spiritually fortified by daily Mass, and a holy hour every day, most preferable in front of the Blessed Sacrament. It was not always easy to organize, but they managed
The effect of their presentations was lasting. People still talk about these young men and women – so devout, so authentic, so passionate, and well-spoken – presenting their message with love and joy!
“People were on fire!” Requests for more education about ‘The True Love” came from so many people that Uta decided to bring a facilitator from Singapore to hold a “Theology of the Body” workshop in January for a whole weekend.
There were requests for: Parent classes (how can we support our teenagers to understand the beauty of their sexuality and live a chaste lifestyle?), classes for young adults, schools started “Theology of the Body” for teenagers and another workshop was scheduled for April – all resulting from the two week visit of the Generation Life missionaries.
“We started a Theology of the Body movement on all age levels. Even priests and nuns attended classes and now are bringing the message to China!” Uta reported. “We were able to introduce them to all the wonderful material from Ascension Press for all the different groups! What a blessing! Our plan is to bring Gen Life again next year. First we have to set up the plan for all the new teams.”
This was the first time for a Generation Life team to go abroad! Three years before, they followed the call of Cardinal Dolan to bring a permanent team to New York and in 2012 Generation Life had, for the first time, a national traveling team. Generation Life plans to have 26 missionaries for the next school year, but the demand is so huge, we can’t satisfy all the requests.