Initiative Brings 'Hope & Joy' to the Faithful of South Africa

Network Sets Out to Spread the Teachings of Vatican II

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DURBAN, South Africa, MAY 8, 2012 (Zenit.org).- With the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council ahead in October, one group in South Africa is doing its part to bring awareness to all Catholics on this momentous occasion. The Hope & Joy Network was created as a way of educating and deepening people's understanding of the Council. 

Hope & Joy, founded in May 2011, is a network of diverse Catholic organizations that work together in promoting the fruits of the Council throughout a range of media resources for South Africa. 

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Raymond Perrier, initiator of Hope & Joy, explained the inspiration for the initiative. The idea for Hope & Joy came from his experience working for the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development in England. At the time, he was placed in charge of a program that would help to bring Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Populorum Progressio to the faithful in a way that was understandable and meaningful.

“That's what gave me the original idea of how you can take a Vatican document, do something with it that makes it accessible and do that not just as a single organization, but as a network of organizations," he said. “This is the same sort of idea but cubed. But it isn’t just one document, its all 16 documents from the council. It's not just a network of five organizations, it's over 60 catholic organizations in South Africa involved.”

Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, archbishop of Durban, South Africa, expressed praise for the initiative. “The Hope & Joy movement is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit moving within our Church. Not only are we commemorating the calling of the Second Vatican Council by Blessed Pope John XXIII, we are celebrating and focusing on how we can all manifest the joy and hope that is the Gift of the Holy Spirit.”

The Hope & Joy Network is spread throughout various groups and organizations, each one with the goal of providing programs and resources that incorporates the teachings of the Second Vatican Council. On their Web site, visitors can search through various links and resources for schools and parishes, newsletters, calendar of events, and film festivals. “It works because different organizations come up with different ideas,” explained Perrier. “What we’ve said to the network of Catholic organizations involved in Hope & Joy is ‘We don’t necessarily want you to do something new; look at what you’re going to do anyway, and see how you can integrate Vatican II into that.'"

Modern technology has also been fundamental with reaching as many people as possible. People can subscribe to receiving daily quotes from the Second Vatican Council via Twitter or text messaging. 

It is Perrier’s hope that other dioceses around the world can be inspired through this initiative, and begin similar initiatives for their faithful as a way of preparing for the Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, which will mark the beginning of the Year of Faith announced by Pope Benedict XVI. 

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More information on the Hope & Joy Network: http://www.hopeandjoy.org.za/