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Cathedral students hear from commitment ministry group

Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Presenter Spencer Teó, left, with help from Thomas Garrity talks about abstaining from sex before marriage and remaining pure for future husbands/wives. Silver Ring Thing, a national touring group, visited Cathedral High School Thursday to give a performance with music, skits, special effects and videos about abstinence.
Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Presenter Spencer Teó, left, with help from Thomas Garrity talks about abstaining from sex before marriage and remaining pure for future husbands/wives. Silver Ring Thing, a national touring group, visited Cathedral High School Thursday to give a performance with music, skits, special effects and videos about abstinence.

NATCHEZ — Thomas Garrity joined hundreds of other Cathedral School students Thursday afternoon in making a commitment to wait.

The seventh- through 12th-grade students heard from a ministry called Silver Ring Thing, which aims to reach teens with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and inspire them to live a pure life.

The handful of presenters used a 2-hour stage performance full of skits, music and commercial parodies to convince Green Wave students that sex outside of marriage is apart from God’s design.

Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Thirteen-year-old Annie Russ, from left, Chandler Russ, 17, and Asia Harris, 16, look at purity rings after watching a presentation by the national group Silver Ring Thing at Cathedral High School Thursday.
Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Thirteen-year-old Annie Russ, from left, Chandler Russ, 17, and Asia Harris, 16, look at purity rings after watching a presentation by the national group Silver Ring Thing at Cathedral High School Thursday.

Garrity, now a senior, heard a similar program at Cathedral when he was in eighth grade and has continued his commitment since then.

“It helps me understand the commitment to my faith and what I want my will to be,” Garrity said. “It’s a great program.”

Thursday’s program was especially exciting for Garrity as one of the ministry leaders, Spencer Teó, pulled him on stage toward the beginning of the program for a demonstration.

“I was nervous at first, but once I got up on stage it was fine,” Garrity said. “I was glad to help out and be a part of the message they help spread.”

After introducing himself and revealing to the audience his nickname, Garrity, known as “Choo Choo,” took a piece of wood that had half a heart painted on it.

“This other half heart represents your future wife,” Teó said. “Put those together and you can have a full heart.”

Teó brought up two more volunteers, Leah Stevens and Claire Upton, who eventually became Garrity’s pretend dates as part of an on-stage skit.

The skit involved Garrity dating Stevens and Upton and eventually crossing established boundaries in their relationships.

“Because of the boundaries you’ve crossed, these girls will have to take a piece of your life with them for the rest of your life,” Teó said. “And you’re going to have to compare these girls to your future wife one day.”

To better illustrate his point, Teó brought up another member of the ministry who took a chainsaw and cut up portions of Garrity’s piece of wood that was put in a vice.

Teó took the chopped up pieces of the heart and gave them to Stevens and Upton.

Another member of the ministry dressed in a wedding dress came out holding the other half of the heart and attempted to put it next to Garrity’s piece that was cut.

The two pieces did not make a perfect heart.

“Some of you might be thinking that’s me — broken down and cut up,” Teó said. “If that is you, I need you to understand that’s OK.”

Teó ended the program with a reading and explanation of the Biblical story of David and Goliath, comparing the battle to the student’s battles against a culture that deems it appropriate to have sex before marriage.

“Take a stand for who you are,” Teó said. “And realize that this commitment is a fight, but it’s worth it.”

Those students who chose to commit to abstain from sexual activity until marriage were able to purchase a silver ring to symbolize their pledge at the end of the program.

The Silver Ring Thing program was created in 1995 and since then has hosted more than 1,000 events in nine countries, reaching more than 550,000 people.

The program was hosted by Cathedral School as part of Harmony Day of Catholic Schools Week, a nationwide celebration of Catholic education.