Sunday, October 13, 2019

Bringing it Together: The Debut of the HCD Duo

It was the week of my fall break from work and I was excited because I was going to be leaving my home state to return to the place of my birth and upbringing to share what I had been teaching up until this point only in my hometown of Tucson, AZ. For the past several years I have been a student and later an instructor of Pope St. John Paul the II's  Theology of the Body. Most of my work has been at the schools where I have worked for the past several years along with many of the local feeder schools and parishes for various ministries.

One recent change was that I no longer did these talks as an independent speaker. I had recently co-founded Humana Corpus Dignitate (HCD is the short version) with Nurse Practitioner Angel Delallana who is also a Catechist at St. Philomena Catholic Church in Carson, CA. Our objective is to share the teachings of the Catholic faith with a strong emphasis on the dignity of the human person by bringing theological teachings and medical knowledge together in order to offer a deeper understanding of all of the Church's teachings. Even though we live in neighboring states we had already started to collaborate on many of our non-speaking projects from creating a website, writing blogs, creating active social media sites while making other plans for the future. Up until now we had yet to do a talk together so we were very excited to have a chance to share our Introduction to the Theology of the Body presentation to multiple groups of young people. 

It began on the afternoon October 9th when we were invited to speak at St. Philip Neri Catholic School in Lynwood, CA. This place had many special memories for me because I had taught there over 20 years ago. Angel and I were welcomed by all of the teachers and staff members who were very excited to see what we had to share with their students. The place had changed so much yet retained so much of the beauty that I remembered so I was really excited about having a chance to share our presentation at such a special place.

One of the nice things that happened prior to the beginning of our talk was when school principal Alexandra Gonzalez showed us around the school. That also included a chance for me to go back into my old classroom, which brought back a lot of great memories. The biggest surprise though was when the teacher invited me to answer some questions from the students, which gave me a chance to time travel a bit as I was now standing in a familiar place doing something I had done over twenty years ago.

We eventually made our way to the hall in order to begin our presentation and had a great time speaking to a group of enthusiastic young people. Angel and I had a good flow together as we went back and forth on our designated sections with power point visuals behind us to accentuate all that we had prepared to share. What meant the most to both of us was that the students responded with questions and comments that showed a real interest in what we were sharing with them.

It was a real exciting time for me because I had the chance to share this beautiful teaching in a new yet familiar location for me. I did not become a student of the Theology of the Body until I had relocated to the Tucson area so my time as a teacher at St. Philip was long before I attended my first course at the Theology of the Body Institute. Further, my time at St. Philip Neri School was when I was still in my early years as a teacher so to return as a veteran teacher of 24 years was a whole new experience.

Later that day we arrived to St. Philomena Catholic Church in Carson, CA to lead the same talk for the year one Confirmation candidates. This is Angel's home parish where she also teaches Confirmation so she was in a very familiar setting. It was familiar to me as well since I grew up in Carson and have a lot of memories at this parish so it was exciting to see both the familiar sites along with many of the changes that have occurred over the years.

The room was full as we had a much bigger audience than we had earlier that day. Along with Director Justin Fontenot, Catechists and other adults leaders we also had over a hundred Confirmation candidates in front of us so we were excited to have this opportunity to work together for such a large audience. The presentation went well. We received many compliments from many who were in attendance but it still gave us a lot to reflect on in terms of what we presented and how we presented it. So we spent some time reflecting on our presentation in order to see what we could improve on right now.

We had that chance the following day as we shared the same presentation for the year two Confirmation candidates.  Right away we saw a different response to our approach as the two rounds from the previous day gave us a sense of comfort that we didn't have just twenty four hours ago. We had a better flow and read each other in a much better way. The response this evening was even better so we were more than encouraged to say the least.

With our ministry consisting of two people from two different states we know that it will always be challenging when we work together since we are both teachers who are used to working alone both at our daily places of employment as well as the presentations we do for HCD in out hometowns on our own. Still, we made the effort to seize the moment and then make improvements after each opportunity we had to work together so we know that our work is just beginning.

We were blessed to have both the administration of St. Philip Neri School and the adult leaders at St. Philomena Catholic Church already request that we return for future presentations. This was what we hoped and prayed for as the beginning of this ministry came from both of us feeling the call to share what we know in order to give people a vision of the abundant life that God has in store of them. We will continue to work hard on all of our projects and pray for the graces to lead us to where we are most needed in order to answer our call to share the Good News of the Gospel.

Carlos Solorzano
BA & MA in Religious Studies from Cal State Long Beach
Certified through the Theology of the Body Institute
Co-founder of Humana Corpus Dignitate