What is the Year of Faith?

POPE BENEDICT XVI in PortugalAs 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.

About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.


  1. Hi Joe,
    You always provide such good articles for us. Thank you for an excellent summary. However, I must point out that it is the 20th (not 25th) anniversary of the Catechism. Don’t want our colleagues to spread an incorrect message.
    In Christ’s peace & joy,
    Mary-Ann Houser

  2. Dear Joe,
    Thank you for this summary!
    I will use it for the upcoming workshops
    for our parish organisations
    preparing them for the Year of Faith!

    Fr.Ozy Gonsalves SJ

  3. I have been looking for an organized “how to” tool to help me get started. Thanks!
    We have whole parish faith formation and this has helped me put together the themes for our monthly sessions – now on to the presenters and collecting materials.

  4. Thank you for the summary. I will encourage my student to show their faith by every time they pass in front of a church make a genuflection and bless themselves to keep the light lit

  5. Thank you so much, Joe. Our Adult Faith Formation Committee is in the process of planning events for the coming year and this will definitely help us focus and select relevant offerings for our parish members including others as well as Catechists.

  6. Dear Joe Paprocki,

    I have been reading your post on Porta Fidei and i must say that you have really gave the epitome of the letter.

    There are some clarifications that i would like to get from you.What does the Pope mean when he encouraged readings and understanding the documents of Vatican II.?

    God bless

    • Hi Nick. As a result of the Second Vatican Council, many important Church documents were produced by the bishops: the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, the Church in the Modern World, and so on. These documents articulate the vision of the Second Vatican Council. It is through reading and reflecting on these documents that we come to understand the vision that the Council Fathers had for the Church. You can find these documents on the Vatican Web site at http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/.

  7. I have copied several documents in this blog for the catechists in our parish. I believe these materials are very helpful in their catechetical ministry and to all Catholics and those seeking the REAL CHURCH and FAITH… Thank you. May we all be filled with GRACE as we journey towards our REAL HOME.

    • Hi Patti. I would love to have that book in Spanish but it is not up to me…that’s a company decision. I encourage you to contact Customer Sales at Loyola Press and tell them that this is something that you would like to see.

  8. January 2, 2013

    Thank you so much for the information. This would serve as our guide for making the Year of Faith celebration more meaningful and colorful.

  9. Thanks for this info! i am supposed to teach a group of students catechists in our school here and this has really been helpful.
    Eyrah Foli nSJ
    Loyola Jesuit College
    Abuja – Nigeria

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