The National Conference of Bishops of Brazil launches video lessons on the Notebooks of Vatican II

29 November 2023


In the two years preceding the Jubilee, Pope Francis asked all believers to return to the fundamental texts of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, using them as an opportunity to grow in faith and as a stimulus to dedicate themselves to prayer. The year 2023 was therefore designated the Year of the Council and 2024 will be marked as the Year of Prayer.

In the letter that Pope Francis wrote in preparation for the 2025 Jubilee, he said: “The four Constitutions of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, together with the magisterium of subsequent decades, will continue to guide and orient the holy people of God, so that they may advance in the mission of bringing the joyful announcement of the Gospel to all."

In response to this request, the Dicastery for Evangelization, in preparation for the opening of the Holy Year, published a collection entitled "Council Notebooks’, consisting of 34 volumes. They are small study aids, written in very simple, direct language, aimed at capturing the attention of the reader. They should not be seen as a formal ‘commentary’, but rather as a short and concise presentation of the riches of Vatican II. In Brazil, the collection is translated and published by Edições CNBB.

To promote and encourage the study of the series of booklets on Vatican II the Brazilian Bishops of South Region 2 will commission a series of video presentations on each of the 34 texts. The initiative came about thanks to the Archbishop of Londrina and President of the Southern Region 2, Dom Geremias Steinmetz, who, after reading the first publications, was struck by their content and suggested that the communications department should develop a project to encourage and promote the study of the series.

Educators in the region (bishops, priests, lay men and lay women), who are specialists in the themes of the Second Vatican Council, will be invited to address the content of each booklet. Initially, the project was intended only for a regional audience, and involved only teachers from the Paraná area. However, the executive secretary of CNBB Region 2, Father Valdecir Badzinski, was invited to participate in the national animation team for the 2025 Jubilee and had the opportunity to present the project to the Bishops. It was then taken up by the whole Brazilian Bishops’ Conference. Now teachers from all over Brazil will be invited to take part.

The Archbishop of Goiânia (GO), first Vice-President of the Brazilian Bishops’ Conference, Dom João Justino de Medeiros Silva, commented on the project. He said: “The initiative of the CNBB South Region 2 to make a series of videos on the constitutions of Vatican II is excellent. Almost 60 years after the end of the Council, it is very important to return to the main pillars of the teaching of the Council, with the aim of helping new generations to get to know, understand and experience these teachings. 60 years after the Council, in communion with Pope Francis, we are carrying forward the dream of a Church of communion, mission and participation.”

The Bishop of Palmas-Francisco Beltrão (PR), Dom Edgar Xavier Ertl, is also part of the national Jubilee animation team. He pointed out that the initiative will offer people the opportunity to revisit the Second Vatican Council as pilgrims of hope. “It is a laudable initiative to speak to Catholics through video lessons and help them rediscover the four Conciliar Constitutions. We are ‘pilgrims of hope’, as Pope Francis reminds us with the choice of the Jubilee motto. As pilgrims of hope, we will rediscover Sacrosantum Concilium, Lumen Gentium, Dei Verbum and Gaudium et Spes and, as a result, people's interest will be aroused so that the Council might become more and more relevant in the lives of Catholics," said the bishop.

Posting of the videos is expected to begin in November and continue through to November 2024. They will be posted on the CNBB South Regional 2 YouTube channel.