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Christian Anthropology: Responding to Modern Challenges, Grand Rapids, Spring 2024


Cathedral Square Center

360 Division Ave S
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

March 1, 2024

8:30 am - 3:00 pm

Workshop Overview

Teachers in the Diocese of Grand Rapids are invited to join our team for a one-day Workshop on addressing gender ideology. Explore the truth of the human person, the reality of sex, and the magnitude of the cultural influences of gender ideology from a societal level to your local community. Learn facts about gender dysphoria, transgender identification, and the psycho-social, medical, and surgical interventions to align the appearance of the body with self-determined identity. Understand Church teaching on the dignity of the person and medical ethics of “gender-affirming care” and the meaning of true accompaniment for vulnerable persons and help for those who are suffering. Finally, receive activities, lesson ideas, and practical tools to help guide you in navigating this difficult issue with your students.

This Workshop blends scholar presentations with interactive pedagogical sessions, giving you a chance to explore content with a respected scholar, as well as explore and simulate practical teaching strategies with ready-to-use classroom materials. Share best practices with your fellow teachers, enjoy catered breakfast and lunch, and engage in both formal and informal discussions.


  • 8:30-9:00am

    Breakfast and Check-In

  • 9:00-9:15am

    Program Introduction

  • 9:15-9:45am

    Defining the Human Person Through Images

    Examine sacred art and other images to discuss how Christian anthropology and gender ideology define the human person.

  • 9:45-10:30am

    A Clash of Anthropologies: Responding to the Current Culture

    This session will explore the current secular cultural view and contrast it with the Catholic worldview.

  • 10:30-10:45am


  • 10:45-11:45am

    God’s Plan for Man

    Teachers will engage in hands-on interactive activities that will help their students have a firmer grasp on Christian Anthropology.

  • 11:45am-Noon

    Walk to Cathedral for Mass

  • 12:00-12:45pm

    Holy Mass

  • 12:45-1:30pm


  • 1:30-2:15pm

    Scientific and Medical Considerations

    This session will explore the science behind biological sex and medical consequences of surgical procedures performed on those seeking to “transition”.

  • 2:15-2:20pm


  • 2:20-2:50pm

    A Pastoral Response: Practical tips on Accompanying Students and Parents

    Learn what the Church truly means by accompaniment and receive practical strategies to help guide students and parents who are hurting.

  • 2:50-3:00pm

    Additional Resources, Evaluation

Join us, and you'll receive…

Catechetical Formation

Engaging sessions by a catechetical scholar provide background knowledge.

Practical Application

Research-based teaching strategies, and concrete tools to apply this knowledge in the classroom.

Spiritual Formation

You'll explore your vocation as a teacher, and your calling as a witness to Christ.

Ready-to-Use Materials

Receive a free supplemental guide featuring 10-12 lessons with activities and sacred art.


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Jose Gonzalez

Jose Gonzalez joined the team at Sophia Institute for Teachers in 2014 after more than 10 years as a Catholic high school teacher. In addition to teaching, Jose has experience working in parish and diocesan ministry. Jose has been leading Workshops in over 60 dioceses for more than 8 years, and contributes regularly to our teacher’s guides and digital instructional resources. He has a BA in theology with a concentration in religious education from Franciscan University of Steubenville, and an MA in evangelization and catechesis from the Augustine Institute. Jose and his wife, Mary Beth, have four children.

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Michel Therrien

Michel Therrien is President and CEO of the Preambula Group, a lay apostolate serving the work of the New Evangelization in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. He served as the President of the Institute for Pastoral Leadership in the Diocese of Pittsburgh as well as the Director of Evangelization. Prior to this, he served as a professor moral theology at the Augustine Institute in Denver, CO. Prior to that, he taught for seven years at St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, PA, also serving as Academic Dean from 2008-2012. His prior work experience includes teaching high school religion, serving as a DRE, a youth minister, and RCIA leader for various parishes. He has also led adult faith formation in various parishes since 2003. He holds a B.A. in Theology from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, an M.A. in Theology and Christian Ministry from Franciscan University of Steubenville, a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the International Theological Institute in Gaming, Austria, and a Doctorate in Fundamental Moral Theology from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland.

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