Catholic Herald staff
For Two Are One, a daylong educational seminar on issues related to marriage, family and contraception, will be held Saturday, Oct. 18, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at St. Therese Parish, Phillips. It is sponsored by Price County Right to Life and parishes in Catawba, Prentice and Phillips.
Jeffrey Arrowood, owner of From the Abbey, a Catholic education service specializing in adult formation, is among the day’s guest speakers.
A member of St. Anne, Somerset, and a professional Catholic educator, he is a frequent lecturer at parishes in the Diocese of La Crosse, where he teaches classes on parenting, faith formation and natural family planning.
Before his detour into adult education, Arrowood taught history, English, moral theology and psychology for 10 years at a Catholic high school in Marshfield.
“I had a wide range, but morality was my main love,” he said.
Arrowood was inspired to pursue a graduate degree in theological studies at the University of Dallas, a program that has since moved to Ave Maria University. He graduated with his master’s degree in 2001, the same year he started From the Abbey.
“One thing I discovered is that the church really has not done a good job with adult education,” he said of his studies.
Adult formation is often “either heavy and theological or fluffy and feel-good,” Arrowood said.
He found that adults get very little guidance on the practical application of their faith, a deficiency he wanted to address.
“That was something I’ve carried from that program,” he said.
After Arrowood and his wife adopted two children, he left his teaching job to become a stay-at-home dad. He’s been a part-time natural family planning educator with the Diocese of La Crosse since 2007, and he plans to apply for a similar position with the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
From the Abbey started out as a hobby and developed a broader educational purpose – namely, to provide the practical assistance Arrowood feels is lacking in most Catholic adult formation.
“You get the education, but you also get, ‘This is how to apply it,’” he explained.
Arrowood teaches a lot of in-person classes, and he often hears about the time constraints that prevent people from attending. For that reason, he’s focused on developing From the Abbey e-classes that can be taken online at any time.
Teaching the “Way of Love” is also one of Arrowood’s projects, a three-part parenting program he co-authored with Alice Heinzen. The program teaches parents about sharing their faith and “embracing your role as primary educators of your children.”
Theology of the Body is his topic for the Oct. 18 seminar, a subject he says fits neatly into Respect Life month.
“Theology of the Body is really about understanding the person, respecting the body,” he added. “We’re going to talk about the role of the body in human nature, in human life.”
Arrowood’s two-hour presentation will cover the female genius – those traits and talents specific to the woman – as well as her counterpart, the male genius. He’ll also talk about human dignity and how Theology of the Body plays out in marriage.
Arrowood hopes to see a good crowd at the event.
“I think it’s going to be a wonderful reflection on the beauty of marriage,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a challenge for married couples to live their vocation more deeply.”
Other speakers include two couples from the diocese – the Gierls from Medford and the Geislers from Bruce – who will discuss their experiences with natural family planning. Dr. Louise Smyth, a physician with the St. Michael Fertility Care Center in Plover, is slated to speak on the effects of birth control on the body, spirituality and culture. Fr. Gerald Hagen will answer any questions about church teachings.
A freewill offering will be collected at the event, which includes lunch. For information or to register, call 715-339-4632.
Readers can learn more about Arrowood’s work at www.fromtheabbey.com and www.twl4parents.com.