As many of you know, Pope Benedict XVI announced that the Church will celebrate a Year of Faith beginning this October, 2012, through November, 2013. Recently, I had a little time to wrap my head around the guidelines for this upcoming event and I’ve written a very brief summary of what the Year of Faith is all about. I thought this might be helpful to you in the months to come. Enjoy.
What is the YEAR OF FAITH?
“We cannot accept that salt should become tasteless or the light be kept hidden.”
Pope Benedict XVI – Porta Fidei, Apostolic Letter for the Indiction of the Year of Faith
Pope Benedict XVI announced that the Church will celebrate a Year of Faith
- beginning on October 11, 2012, the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
- and ending on November 24, 2013, the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King (Christ the King).
Both of these events (Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church) are significant moments in the faith life of Catholics. Likewise, the opening of the Year of Faith will coincide with the next General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to be held in October, 2012, with the theme of The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.
The Year of Faith is designed to renew the faith of Catholics so that we will be credible, joy-filled witnesses to the Risen Lord in the world today, capable of leading others to faith.
The goal of the Year of Faith is to foster:
- an encounter with Christ (which is the foundation of our faith) through authentic witnesses to faith,
- a deeper understanding of the truths of our faith that Jesus revealed
At the universal level of the Church, the faithful are encouraged to:
- participate in pilgrimages to sacred sites closely tied to our faith such as Rome, the Holy Land and Marian sites
- participate in conferences that encourage encounters with authentic witnesses to faith and promote understanding of the contents of faith
- deepen our knowledge of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
- support and participate in ecumenical initiatives
At the national level, Episcopal Conferences are encouraged to:
- promote focus on the faith and the significance (and relevance) of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church and dedicate days of study to the themes, documents, and resources related to these two significant moments in the life of the Church
- promote knowledge of the saints as authentic witnesses of faith and promote the relationship between faith and sacred art
- develop resources for apologetics and ensure that catechetical materials are in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church
- re-examine priestly formation in light of the spirit and teachings of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
At the diocesan level, bishops are encouraged to:
- mark the opening and conclusion of the Year of Faith with special celebrations, issue a pastoral letter on the significance (and relevance) of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and organize catechetical study days throughout the year on the themes, documents, and resources related to these two significant moments in the life of the Church.
- review how the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church have been received and implemented in the local Church
- organize penitential celebrations asking for forgiveness for sins against the faith (with an emphasis on approaching the Sacrament of Penance with more faith and frequency)
- promote encounters with non-believers who are seekers of truth
At the local level, parishes are encouraged to:
- read, reflect on, and discuss the Holy Father’s Apostolic Letter on the Year of Faith Porta Fidei
- intensify celebration of the faith especially in our celebration of the Eucharist
- devote greater attention to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (through homilies, days of study, greater accessibility to resources related to these two significant moments in the life of the Church)
- help catechists to hold more firmly to the doctrinal richness of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and make resources related to the CCC more available to the domestic church (families)
- organize parish missions designed to renew commitment to giving witness to our faith
- renew our personal efforts to communicate our experience of faith to others
Every initiative for the Year of Faith should be designed to aid in the joyous rediscovery of the faith and its renewed transmission.