Jason Evert: Faithful College ‘Opened Doors’ for Chastity Ministry
More than one million people on six continents have heard about the virtue of chastity, because of the wonderful Chastity Project, led by Jason and Crystalina Evert.
The catalyst for the entire ministry? Jason’s experience at a faithful Catholic college.
“Franciscan University of Steubenville prepared me for the ministry God entrusted us with and opened the doors for the ministry to become possible,” says Evert.
“I don’t know where I’d be today, or if our ministry would even exist, if I hadn’t attended Franciscan University,” he continues. Franciscan is a faithful Catholic college recommended in The Newman Guide.
The Chastity Project is all about helping young people see that “chastity is the virtue that frees us to love.” The Project educates young people about the truth of human sexuality and tackles topics like dating, birth control, homosexuality and pornography.
Evert and his wife have given more than 3,000 talks to high school and college students about the virtue of chastity, but he still remembers his first talk, during a spring break mission trip in college. After that, one thing was clear: “I knew I wanted to do this for the rest of my life,” says Evert.
During college, Evert was active with leading mission trips, retreats off campus and sidewalk counseling outside of abortion clinics. The catalyst for Evert’s ministry “wasn’t just what I was learning in theology class, but was also through the ministry work that Franciscan University made possible” for students.
Students hear the truth “with their ears in the classroom, they see it with their eyes on campus and they are given opportunities to deliver it with their words through missionary work,” explains Evert. “There were many ways that the authentic faith was being presented on campus.”
He remembers going to Eucharistic Adoration around 1:00 in the morning on a weekend and seeing one of his theology professors in the chapel. “That was more memorable than anything I learned in his class, and I learned a great deal in his class!” says Evert. The witness of seeing your “teacher sitting at the feet of the Master” is powerful.
At Franciscan University, “faith wasn’t just something that you learned,” he continues. “At a normal state university and many Catholic universities, you need to go out of your way to find Godly students. At solid universities like those recommended in The Newman Guide, you have to go out of your way to find students who aren’t pursuing God.”
Today, Evert is seeing some of the fruits of the 21 years he’s devoted to this ministry: young men and women who filled out chastity commitment cards as teens and saved them for their spouses, men who have broken free from pornography and are living out their marriage vows, and families who have stopped contracepting and are filled with joy as they build their families. But Evert’s not slowing down. He has written 15 books and is currently working on another to teach young men about love, relationships and especially dating.
Through his work with Crystalina to help young people, Evert is often asked for college search advice as he travels the country. “College is a big investment. To spend four years of your life and your life’s savings to debate with a disbelieving professor may not be the best investment,” he advises.
Attending Franciscan University was “one of the best decisions I ever made in my life,” says Evert. “I knew that was where God wanted me to be.”
“At every high school we go to, we encourage the guidance counselors to use The Newman Guide to help students find their college,” Evert says.
“It’s one thing to receive an hour-long chastity talk, but if you have a guidance counselor who can point you to the right university for the four years, that’s going to do more good than one motivational speech.”
Copyright © 2019 The Cardinal Newman Society. Permission to reprint without modification to text, with attribution to author and to The Cardinal Newman Society, and (if published online) hyperlinked to the article on the Newman Society’s website. The views expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Cardinal Newman Society.