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‘Joy of the Gospel’ through African eyes

March 27, 2015
Christina Gray

It took Teresia Hinga three hours to make the 65-mile drive from Santa Clara University to St. Rita Church in Fairfax where she made a presentation on March 17 called, “From African Cry to Gospel Joy: Reading Pope Francis’ ‘Evangelii Gaudium’ with African Eyes.”

When she finally arrived, technical complications in the parish hall nixed her multimedia presentation.

With a smile, Hinga told the parish audience that she heard Pope Francis reminding her that joy does not depend upon how smoothly life goes.

“C’mon, you can’t talk about joy and not practice it!” she said she heard a little voice say.

Hinga, an associate professor of religious studies at Santa Clara University, was one of five featured speakers for the this year’s St. Rita Lenten Lecture Series, “We are the Church,” celebrating the 50th anniversary of “Guadium et Spes,” the conciliar Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World.

Pope Francis’ 2013 apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Guadium” (“Joy of the Gospel,”) has special meaning to many Africans, whose lives of poverty, starvation, oppression and violence appear to hold little joy, Hinga said.

“Pope Francis reminds us that these challenges should be an opportunity to rethink our Christian mission so that Christianity equals justice and joy instead of misery,” she said.

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