May 12, 2010 // Local

Chastity advocate Jason Evert speaks to diocesan teens

Jason Evert speaks about chastity with teens at a Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne assembly. Bishop Dwenger was one of the sites where Evert spoke while sharing his message in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

By Kay Cozad

“Chastity is good news. It’s not a neurotic and repressive attitude toward sexuality, but a liberating virtue that frees you to fall in love for all the right reasons,” says internationally-known author, speaker and founder of Pure Love Club Jason Evert. The chastity advocate spoke to hundreds of teens at assemblies held at Marian High School in South Bend on May 5 and Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne on May 6, as well as evening sessions for parents and students in both cities at Holy Cross College and the University of Saint Francis.

The high energy presentations, two among the over 150 Evert offers each year, were based on the issues and topics the teens hold dear, all wrapped in the truth of chastity. “The teachers are the teens themselves,” says Evert, who meets with students personally after each assembly. “This inside knowledge really helps me to know how to address the students, and how to make them feel understood, respected and loved.”

Evert holds a master’s degree in theology and has ministered to teens across the globe through the auspices of Catholic Answers for 12 years. His participation in the Life Teen program at his home church and his background in assisting with and leading teen retreats throughout high school and college, as well as ministering to women through crisis pregnancy counseling, helped shape his desire to reach out to teens.

He engages the most hardhearted teens with humor and real life stories, as he weaves his own personal story of chastity, including his struggles in high school, through his talks on the truth about love, sexuality and the message that it’s never too late to choose chastity.

“I’m honest and reverent at the same time,” he says, relating that he married as a virgin. His message is not shame-based, he says, but rather hopeful. “It matters where they go from here,” he notes.

Evert has spoken to inner city teens as well as those in suburbia and rural areas. He reports that teens have the same issues wherever he speaks. “They’re all going through the same stuff,” he says, citing challenges with eating disorders, depression, premarital sex, abortion, pregnancy and much more. The students, says Evert, are always receptive to his message. “… the students are starving for the truth and for authentic love.”

The chastity message, Evert says, is different than abstinence education. “The term ‘abstinence’ means ‘no sex.’ Therefore, it is incomplete. … chastity is complete. It is a lifestyle that pertains to every mannerism, conversation and thought. It is not a list of “thou shalt nots,” but a transformation of the way a person views his or her entire sexuality.”

His ministry, which challenges “teens to deepen their prayer lives, and follow their consciences, which call them to purity,” starts with prayer, Evert says. His personal prayer life consists of fasting, a daily rosary, Mass and an hour of Eucharistic adoration, with Reconciliation every two weeks. He also has recruited hundreds of nuns to pray for the teens he speaks to as well as asking each assembly to pray for the next group of students he will visit.

A portion of his message, says Evert is fashioned for the parents of teens. “I remind parents that they are the primary sex educators of their children. … They must overcome their own insecurities about talking about sexuality, and give their teens a strong and uncompromising message of purity.” According to the teens he speaks with, Evert reports that parents are the most influential shapers of their behavior.

At each assembly, Evert encourages all the teens to take immediate steps to “keep the message alive by surrounding themselves with good friends and returning to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist.”

He also advocates deepening prayer life and reading holy books as well as attending retreats each year. Another way for teens to stay focused is to establish Pure Love Clubs on their school campuses for formation, support and outreach. And Evert says, “Only date people who have the same high standards as you.”

His ministry continues to expand to those he may never meet in person through his writing and DVD productions as well. Over a dozen books include writings on theology of the body, pure love, how to stay Catholic in college and “If You really Loved Me: 100 Questions on Dating, Relationships and Sexual Purity,” in question-answer format for easy reading.

But the most rewarding part of his ministry, says the young advocate, is the 3,000 e-mails each year he receives from teens whose lives have been changed by the message he offers. Like the teen who had planned to kill herself the night of his presentation, who found hope after his talk. Or the 17-year-old that removed herself from an abusive dating relationship to go on to a successful college career.

Why does this young man, who travels away from his home and family 10 days out of each month, reach out to teens with such passion and conviction?

“For the teens, for their sakes,” he says unabashedly. “I do love the teens. You couldn’t pay me to have any other job!”

And after 160 presentations to over 100,000 students each year for 12 years, Evert still is amazed at how God has used him in this ministry. “Two-thousand years ago, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. I think he still prefers that mode of transportation.”

Evert lives in San Diego with his wife Crystalina and their three children. They are expecting their fourth child soon.
For more information on Jason Evert and the chastity ministry visit

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