Isipho the Gift – Our Gift Back to Blessed JP 2

by Andrina Moodley

The canonization of Blessed John Paul the Great is causing great excitement in the church. Not only because it is a mere 8 years after his death, but also because of his significant popularity with the youth. Being the Founder of World Youth day he has entered the hearts of the young for many decades but it is through his writings on the Theology of the Body (TOB) that he has been able to further touch the hearts and lives of millions throughout the world even years after his death.

The ‘Theology of the Body’ is Pope John Paul II’s integrated vision of the human person – body, soul, and spirit. In these writings, Pope JP II seeks to answer 3 fundamental questions about Life:  What does it mean to be human as Male or Female; where am I headed?  How do I live out my life in a way that brings true happiness?

George Weigel, author of Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II, calls this papal study of human sexuality (T.O.B) “one of the boldest reconfigurations of Catholic theology in centuries” – a “theological time-bomb set to go off with dramatic consequences …perhaps in the twenty-first century.

A group of Theology of the Body (TOB) facilitators has been walking a close road with Bl JP II’s teachings over the past five years. Under the guidance of Marie-Anne Te brake of the Foundation for the Person and the family, these facilitators have spread the message of TOB from Johannesburg, PTA, KZN and even Zimbabwe reaching over 3600 young adults and teens. The team was also responsible for bringing renowned TOB speaker from the US, Jason Evert to Johannesburg, who addressed hundreds of youth and parents. For many young South Africans who have attended a  “Theology of the Body”  seminar, not only have their lives been touched and changed but so too, have their spiritual and interior lives.

The challenge that the team of facilitators has experienced is that the content and resources they have been using is American based. While the content appeals to the entire human race the way in which it is delivered is not appealing to our linguistically and culturally diverse nation. As a response to this need a team of TOB facilitators has been formed to develop a uniquely South African Theology of the Body program in the form of a DVD series. It is has been entitled Isipho – The Gift. The team consists of TOB facilitators who have skills in the areas of music, writing directing, producing, research, web design, psychology and education.

The DVD’s will be distributed to schools, prisons, and hopefully every Catholic Church in South Africa. Cardinal Napier, Arch Bishop Slattery of Pretoria and Arch Bishop Thlagane of Johannesburg have all provided written letters of support for this initiative.

To realize the project a sum of R 1 million Rand is needed to fund the research and production of the DVD series. We wish to appeal to South African business men/women or any Catholic who is able to make a donation to support this initiative. The youth of the world are hungry for truth and the Theology of the Body series speaks truth to the human heart.

“The Hunger for Love is often stronger than the hunger for bread” – Mother Theresa of Calcutta

For any queries or to make donations to this project, kindly contact Marie-Anne Te Brake on +2711 7935653 or email:  matebrake@global.co.za