Hope notes are brief writeups of things that we have found that have helped us or others to hold on to hope. On this website, these hope notes are often from the Church or from Catholics.
Our first Hope Note, or ‘Good News you can use!’, is Jane Goodall’s Hopecast:
Our first Hope Note is a description of Jane Goodall’s Hopecast which highlights things that can inspire hope. In general, Jane says that there are there are four things that give her hope for the future: the energy of youth, the power of the human brain, the resilience of nature, and the power of social media.
Both Jane and her Hopecast promote hope. Although Jane is best known for her scientific work studying Chimpanzies in their natural habitats, for more than 30 years, her work has been to travel the world advocating for policies that will protect animals and human beings from environmental destruction. When travel was impossible due to the pandemic, she took this work virtual, doing most of her lecturing and advising on line. One aspect of this work was a monthly interview with someone doing something that inspired hope. An example of a month’s Hopecast might be interviewing the CEO of a company that has achieved zero carbon emissions while treating its employees fairly and spreading the word that it was possible to run a successful business while at the same time improving life on the planet. In recent episodes Jane interviewed the CEO of Patatgonia, a manufacturer of outdoor clothing and Margaret Atwood, a popular author who has supported environmental causes for decades. Raised in the Church of England, many of her current beliefs are compatible with Christian faith.
Our second Hope Note is a program called Catholic in Recovery:
Catholic in Recovery (CIR) provides hope by offering recovery and mental health that is in keeping with Catholic practice and provided at no cost. CIR is a nonprofit organization that serves those suffering from addictions and unhealthy attachments. CIR blends a twelve step recovery with the spiritual resources of the Catholic Church. CIR supports parishes and communities with group resources that draw people closer to these two powerful sources of grace. CIR offers about 30 weekly in person meetings in 12 states and twenty virtual meetings. CIR provides groups every day of the week, some for general recovery and others for specific problems including alcoholism, drug addiction, pornography addiction, sex and relationship addiction, compulsive overeating and food addictions, gambling addiction, codependency and the impact on family. These groups provide support and fellowship free of charge which can supplement formal treatment or secular 12 step programs. CIR also sponsors retreats in different cities throughout the US, on line rosary and prayer meetings. For a full list of meetings and resources go to CIR’s website:
Our third Hope Note is about Catholicism and the survival of creation:
Many, if not most, environmental scientists now believe that the processes of climate change have already progressed so far that the recent record temperatures, wildfires, tornadoes, etc. will not only continue but will get worse.
As disheartening as this is, the fact that no one seems to be able to find a way to deal with these problems may be even worse. Fortunately, many psychologists and social scientists have been studying these problems for decades and are now well along in their study of what some call ‘transformational resilience’, the mental and emotional skills needed to survive these frightening times, work to gain control of the most dangerous trends, and bring the world in for a safe landing.
Wendell Berry, one of the world’s most respected naturalists, wrote an essay thirty years ago entitled ‘Christianity and the survival of creation”. Berry showed the ways in which the Judeo Christian tradition was well grounded in an ethic of care for the world as well as its people…despite horrible distortions that have led to many of the current dangers. Ten years ago, in his first major encyclical, Laudata ‘Si, Pope Frances showed how ‘care for the earth, our common home’, should be an essential part of Catholic practice.
Our fourth Hope Note is about Catholic websites and blogs that inspire:
Many of us receive inspiration, often profound, from the blogs, podcasts, websites of fellow Catholics and other Christians.
These days Michael logs in to the Sunday Website of St Louis University every day. Father John Foley (the author of many of our favorite Catholic hymns like Come to the Water) is a contributor and the overall editor of a website based on the scripture readings for each Sunday. The website provides brief commentaries by theologians from the present or as far back the first years of the Church. Great scholarship and inspiring thoughts. The Sunday Web Site at Saint Louis University (slu.edu)
In the past Michael checked the blog of Father Austin Fleming, the “Concord Pastor” with his prayerful meditations of each day’s scripture readings. Often supplemented by current to classic music and video.
Michael also checks in to the Crux Now (https://cruxnow.com/) for newspaper type coverage of current and past Church people and events.
Jacqueline receives a daily inspirational feed from Kelley Tyan. https://www.kelleytyan.com/ Kelley combines Christian faith with nutrition, exercise, and wellness. The daily podcast is really effective in inspiring self esteem and wellness. It is for women only.
Another colleague, Kathryn, loves the Restore the Glory podcast by Dr. Bob Schuchts & Jake Khym, MA. This Podcast is about the Healing and restoration of our God-given glory.
Additional resources include the Hallow App, Bishop Barron’s podcast, and many more!