John Paul II Renewal Center Co-Founder and President Jeff has greatly benefited from Theology of the Body in his personal life. Jeff is a lifelong Catholic, however, for a period of time, he was the prodigal son who was far from his faith. He had been finding his way home for several years when he discovered the great teaching of Blessed Pope John Paul II called Theology of the Body. The Theology of the Body was a great gift to him and to his marriage. As he says, “It changed everything for me.” His great hope is that the John Paul II Renewal Center will help others find the happiness in love that he has found. He says that if there is hope for someone who came to age in the 70’s period of “drugs, sex, and rock and roll”, then there is hope for anyone. Jeff has been married for 33 years and has three children.
Jack Rigert is a co-founder of the John Paul II Renewal Center and presently serves as its Managing Director. In his earlier life, Jack was a professional chef with a degree in Hospitality Management. He owned and operated a number of successful restaurant concepts. Jack also served many years in the financial services industry and went on to found his own company. While attending graduate classes at the Catholic Theological Union where he studied scripture and early church history, Jack came across the teaching of Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. It changed his life. He went on to study at the Theology of the Body Institute under Christopher West, Dr. Janet Smith, and Dr. John Grabowski, among others. Jack presents Theology of the Body to groups of all ages, including many who have attended the Gift of Self Marriage Preparation seminar sponsored by the Rockford Diocese. In addition to writing for the John Paul II Renewal Center, Jack is a frequent guest on Relevant Radio and Radio Maria. He has three grown children and five grandchildren. He lives in Saint Charles, Illinois with his wife, Jeannie, and he is an active member of St. Patrick’s Church.
John Paul II Renewal Center Co-Founder and current Treasurer Linda is dedicated to promoting a Culture of Life through sharing the teachings of the John Paul II and the Catholic Church. Linda is a retired educator who has created customized presentations for teens and adults centered on the themes of love, marriage, human sexuality, and the dignity of the human person– all rooted in the Theology of the Body catechesis and other writings of Blessed Pope John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and the Bishops of the Catholic Church. On a personal level, Linda has been transformed by the understanding of the truth of God’s plan for love and life.
John Paul II Renewal Center board member, Nancy, has been practicing Marriage and Family Therapy for 25 years. She and her husband, Ken, currently run St. Charles Counseling in St. Charles, IL while raising three teenage children in the Catholic faith. Nancy converted to Catholicism in 2011 when her oldest child was receiving his 1st communion. Despite deep roots in the Presbyterian tradition, Nancy felt a deep longing to receive the body and blood of Christ with her family and was distraught with the idea of lifelong spiritual separation from her husband and children. Since receiving her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Nancy has felt called to bring healing to broken individuals, couples and families. Christ is the ultimate healer. Nancy is able to use St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body concepts while working with both Christians and non-Christians as they work on their suffering and healing to help them attend to what their soul really longs for…love and mercy.
Theology of the Body has completely transformed Mark’s life. Growing up he had heard the list of “rules” about our sexuality and desires, the problem was he never understand the WHY behind it all. Through the lens of Saint John Paul ll’s TOB he learned that God actually had a plan from the very beginning of time for all of our deepest longings and desires. That life was not about suppressing our desires but about opening them up to God’s infinite plan so that we could experience the life, love and happiness that we were created for. Theology of the Body has opened Mark’s eyes to believe deep in his heart, as St Teresa of Avila said, “There is no contenting the soul, with anything less than God.” Mark has studied at the Theology of the Body Institute under Christopher West and has a passion for presenting parish missions and working with teens and young adults. Mark graduated from Wheaton College in 2014 and is also currently working in the financial services industry.
While steeped in a strong Christian environment at Wheaton College, Sean discovered the Theology of the Body and the writings of St. Pope John Paul II. Sean was immediately transformed by the profound depth of the teaching and began to study and explore God’s design for life and relationships. Sean has lead young adult studies of the Theology of the Body and loves the opportunity to discuss the Catholic Church’s plan for marriage and the family. Sean is passionate about following Pope Saint John Paul II’s call to youth to “build a civilization of love and truth”. Sean also works as a teacher in Special Education and coaches high school football.
Father Ryan Browning
John Paul II Renewal Center Spiritual Director Father Ryan Browning spent many years living a worldly life disconnected from the Catholic faith (a prodigal son). Saint John Paul II’s Theology of the Body was a catalyst for him returning to the practice of his faith. Through study, Eucharistic Adoration, and daily Mass, he heard God calling him to the priesthood and was ordained by Bishop David J. Malloy on June 22, 2013. He desires to share God’s love and mercy with a world that so badly needs it – a world confused about the truth of the human person (body and soul). I think the Theology of the Body helps us speak to deepest longings of the human heart – true selfless love and happiness.”
Jacob grew up in St. Charles, Illinois. He is the oldest of 8 children. He spent two years studying music and theatre at Wichita State before transferring to Northern Illinois University’s School of Theatre and Dance. In 2017, Jacob landed his first feature film, Paul, Apostle of Christ. In addition to working with the John Paul ll Renewal Center, he is currently pursuing work as an actor in Chicago. Jacob will share his many talents, including music and vocals.