BY ELIJAH SIMON
A warrior of love and a messenger of chastity, Jason Evert returned to Franciscan University Friday as an alumnus and an internationally renowned speaker.
Going above and beyond his normal call to why young and old alike should practice the virtues of chastity and purity, Evert appealed to the students of Franciscan to challenge themselves and each other in the actual application of these virtues. Through sound advice, he gave students a practical yet inspiring perspective and left them itching to go out and live their lives accordingly.
In a manner that seems all but dead to the modern world, the Church, Evert explained, does not want to chain people down with rules, but lift them to their full potential in regard to chastity.
“Chastity is a virtue that frees you to love,” Evert said. “We aren’t trying to shame people and guilt them. Young people have basically had enough of that. What we want to know is not how to avoid unwed pregnancy, but to know how to find and obtain lasting love.”
In his lecture, Evert expanded on how men and women are not achieving this love by engaging in unchaste behavior, but rather, they are degrading the love that they could be realizing.
“The Church does not say you can’t go to first or second base,” Evert said. “God, through the Church, wants you to hit a grandslam in the bottom of the ninth of the world series and win the whole pennant.”
Jason Evert along with his wife Crystalina Evert run the Chastity Project, their main ministry, which is now spread across all seven continents. In ways never before realized, the message of chastity is being proclaimed to the world!
“Just last week a priest in China printed 10,000 copies of our book, Pure Love,” Evert said. “So we are doing that on almost every continent, just printing stuff and getting it to the students. Now it’s the students who are taking initiative and making the difference.”
For Evert, the past 15 years that mark his ministry have been incredible for him for many reasons. He has travelled across the world meeting thousands of youth and making time to talk to them face-to-face before and after every talk. This is something he personally appreciates about his ministry.
“What’s neat now, having been doing it for 15 years, the students are coming up to me and saying, hey I heard your talk in seventh grade and I just got married three weeks ago, so it’s a real blessing seeing it come full circle,” Evert went on.
What is so enticing about this man’s lectures and personality that make him so loved by the youth who see him is hard to put a finger on. But across the world he and his wife are known and appreciated by over a million people. His impact here was evident in the extremely packed Gentile Gallery in the J.C. Williams center and by the overwhelming joy in his reception.
One Student, Abbey Jaroma, said that had it not been for Jason Evert, she would not be who she is today.
“I’d say this talk was just personal,” Jaroma said. “It’s just like he knew exactly what you were needing to hear. He lets you know that you are not the only person going through this and that you are not alone.
Despite being so well known and loved, coming back to Franciscan University was a precious moment for Evert and he made a point to mention it.
“I don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t go to Steubenville,” Evert continued. “Just the formation, the fellowship, the priests, the examples, the households, I mean you gotta soak it up! So many blessings are available on this campus. You don’t realize the gift you have here.”