About

Our Mission

Family Renewal Project was established in 2016 to help “restore the family and renew the culture by educating and forming men and women to understand, embrace, and live authentic love and responsibility.” We strive to connect persons of all ages with the message of Theology of the Body through various programming and events.

What is Theology of the Body?

Theology of the Body (TOB) is firmly rooted in Scripture and teachings handed down through the ages by Fathers and Doctors of the Church (e.g., St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. John of the Cross +++). In assembling these teachings, St. John Paul II didn’t create anything new but provided language for modern man to comprehend and answer the basic questions: What does it mean to be human? How can I live my life in a way that brings me true happiness?

What does it mean to be human?

  • We are both body and soul, made in the image and likeness of God.
  • We have been created by love, for love, and have the ability to express this love by being a sincere gift to others.
  • We are called to understand, embrace, and discover our story–where we came from, where we are, and where we are heading.

How can I live my life in a way that brings me true happiness?

  • Learning how to give and receive real love is the key to a stable, happy life.
  • Learning to discover, accept, and celebrate God’s perfect plan for YOU–whether it be a vocation to marriage, priesthood, consecrated, or religious life.
  • Understanding and living the beauty of our sexuality and the significance of family life within society. 
  • All of this is a possible and worthwhile journey!

Who is St. John Paul II and what is his connection to TOB?

  • JPII was our Pope from 1978-2005. He had assembled what has become commonly known as Theology of the Body before he was elected Pope, and he spent the first five years of his papacy sharing this message with the world.
  • His goal was to help the world better understand, embrace, and live the truths of marriage, sexuality, and fertility by revealing Jesus’ words on commitment, fidelity, and heaven.
  • Scholars and theologians have noted that these teachings from JPII came at just the right time to provide the antidote to the chaos and confusion of our current culture.

Common Responses

  • The most common response from people as they are exposed to TOB is “Why have I never heard this before?!” 
  • Other frequent responses include, “This is amazing!” “It makes so much sense!”  “Now I understand my Catholic faith!” 

Family Renewal Project is dedicated to helping you and people of all ages come to understand, embrace, and live life the way our Creator intended and become fully alive! We invite you to explore our website, participate in our offerings, and sign up to receive our bi-monthly eNewsletter. If you have questions, please contact us (see below).

Teologia Ciala: Theology of the Body

When Karol Wojtyla, the cardinal archbishop of Krakow, Poland, came to Rome in August 1978 to help elect a new pope, he brought along the lengthy handwritten manuscript of a book that he had been prayerfully crafting for nearly four years. It was almost complete, and he wished to work on it, when he could, during the conclave. Page one bore the unusual title (in Polish): “teologia ciala”-“theology of the body.” The hundreds of pages that followed held perhaps the most profound and compelling Biblical reflection on the meaning of our creation and redemption as male and female ever.

After the election of Pope John Paul I, Wojtyla returned to Krakow and completed his manuscript. Soon after that, to the astonishment of the whole world, he emerged from the second conclave of 1978 as Pope John Paul Il. And his “theology of the body’-delivered as a series of Wednesday talks between September 1979 and November 1984 rather than being published as a book-became the first major teaching project of his pontificate, establishing the core of John Paul Il’s great vision of what it means to be human.

Still, it took some time for people to grasp the significance of what John Paul II had given us. It wasn’t until 1999, for example, that papal biographer George Weigel described the TOB to a wide readership as “a kind of theological time bomb set to go off, with dramatic consequences…perhaps in the 21st century.” While the pope’s vision of the body and of sexual love had “barely begun to shape the Church’s theology, preaching, and religious education,” Weigel predicted that when it did it would “compel a dramatic development of thinking about virtually every major theme in the Creed.”

From “Theology of the Body for Beginners” by Christopher West

EDUCATION & FORMATION LEADERS

John Sohl

Director of Discipleship

John is a graduate of Western Kentucky University who loves hunting, fishing, hiking, theater, videography and playing baseball.

After discerning the call to the priesthood, John transitioned from seminary to the role of discipleship leader in the Archdiocese of Louisville. Some may say “youth minister,” but after five years of dedication to youth, John realized that developing disciples was the ultimate goal.

John has attended & led pilgrimages to the last 5 World Youth Days: Madrid, Spain; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Kraków, Poland; Panama City, Panamá and he and his wife attended WYD in Lisbon, Portugal in 2023.

For over six years, John served as the only male chastity instructor in the Archdiocese of Louisville. Every school year he & one of his female counterparts would teach a multi-day course at over 40 schools (Catholic, private, and public).

John is now the first and only person in the Archdiocese of Louisville to have completed his Master’s Certification in Theology of the Body from the TOB Institute … a major accomplishment!

John married his wonderful wife, Crystal in October of 2019. Together they strive to understand, embrace and live Theology of the Body!

Richard R. Meyer, PsyD

Psychologist & Clinical Director

Dr. Meyer recently celebrated his 47th anniversary offering faith-based clinical work as a Catholic Clinical Psychologist.

Over these 47 years he worked at the Community Mental Health Center in Lawrenceburg, Indiana and then Comprehensive Care Center in Northern Kentucky before co-founding the Christian Counseling Center of Cincinnati in 1988, and joining full time in March 1991. After working three years for New Life Clinics and then four years part-time at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital in Edgewood, KY from 2000 through 2003, he founded the Good Shepherd Institute in January of 2004 to more directly serve Catholic and Evangelical clients through faith-based clinical practice and inner-healing prayer.

In July 2019 Dr. Meyer began an adult Grief Group at the St. Elizabeth Medical Center’s Hospice Center in Edgewood, KY. Soon after he began another grief group at the same location for those who have suffered the loss of a child or other loved one through opioid overdose. In October 2019, Dr. Meyer was hired as HSP clinical supervisor for Elina Holland at Good Shepherd Institute of the Bluegrass (GSIB), a ministry of Family Renewal Project. Upon Elina’s transition out of clinical practice, Dr. Meyer assumed the role of clinical director and psychologist for GSIB, he sees patients in Louisville on Tuesdays & Wednesdays.

GSIB seeks to serve the Catholic-Christian community in support of marriage and family life, and to provide professional therapy services to Catholics and other Christians from an authentic faith-based perspective.

Founders

Donna Burry

Garry Burry

Jan Ford

Susan Gendron

Very Rev. Martin Linebach

Madonna Stinson

Leadership Team

Donna Burry

Co-Founder + Director

Garry Burry

Co-Founder + President

Susan Gendron

Co-Founder + Education and Formation Advisor

John Sohl

Director of Discipleship

Bryan Cain

Strategic Advisor

Waterfall Team: Discipleship & Operations

John Sohl

Director of Discipleship

Susan Gendron

Volunteer Content Advisor & GSIB Support

Doreen DeGeare

Director of Operations
Network Development

Vincent Ricketts

School Coordinator
Content Specialist & Presenter

Justin Leiner

Development Assistant
Content Specialist & Presenter

Maria Holthouse

Marketing Coordinator
Content Specialist & Presenter

Live the adventure you were made for! God has a plan for your life and calls you to live it to the fullest! We want to help you discover the story He’s writing.

Family Renewal Project provides a space to:

(1) Build authentic relationships.

(2) Serve with a purpose.

(3) Learn the truth of who they are and the love they were made for.