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Friday, October 5, 2012
Year of Faith: "A summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the One Savior of the world"
"…They called the church together and reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith..."(Acts 14:27).
In the Acts of the Apostles, we learn that God has opened the door of faith for the early Church.But did you know that God has opened the door of faith for each one us and he invites us to step through the threshold into a deeper relationship with him.The upcoming Year of Faith is an opportunity for every Catholic to turn towards Jesus Christ, encounter him in the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and rediscover the Faith and Church.
With his Apostolic Letter of October 11, 2011,Porta Fidei. . . , Pope Benedict XVI declared that a "Year of Faith" will begin on October 11, 2012 and conclude on November 24, 2013. October 11, 2012, the first day of the Year of Faith, is the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. . . (Vatican II) and also the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. During the Year of Faith, Catholics are asked to study and reflect on the documents of Vatican II and the catechism so that they may deepen their knowledge of the faith.
"The 'door of faith' (Acts14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church."---Pope Benedict XVI, Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei for the Indiction of the Year of Faith.
The upcoming Year of Faith is a “summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the One Savior of the world” (Porta Fidei 6). In other words, the Year of Faith is an opportunity for Catholics to experience a conversion – to turn back to Jesus and enter into a deeper relationship with him. The “door of faith” is opened at one’s baptism, but during this year Catholics are called to open it again, walk through it and rediscover and renew their relationship with Christ and his Church.
YEAR OF FAITH QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
1. What is the Year of Faith?
At certain times in the history of the Church, popes have called upon the faithful to dedicate themselves to deepening their understanding of a particular aspect of the faith. In 1967, Pope Paul VI announced a Year of Faith commemorating the 19th centenary of the martyrdom of Sts. Peter and Paul. The 1967 Year of Faith called upon the Church to recall the supreme act of witness by these two saints so that their martyrdom might inspire the present day Church to collectively and individually make a sincere profession of faith.
The upcoming Year of Faith declared by Pope Benedict XVI is a “summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the One Savior of the world” (Porta fidei 6). In other words, the Year of Faith is an opportunity for Catholics to experience a conversion – to turn back to Jesus and enter into a deeper relationship with him. The pope has described this conversion as opening the “door of faith” (see Acts 14:27). The “door of faith” is opened at one’s baptism, but during this year Catholics are called to open it again, walk through it and rediscover and renew their relationship with Christ and his Church.
2. Why is the Year of Faith this year?
With his Apostolic Letter of October 11, 2011, Porta fidei, Pope Benedict XVI declared that the Year of Faith will begin on October 11, 2012 and conclude on November 24, 2013. October 11, the first day of the Year of Faith, is the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) and also the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. During the Year of Faith, Catholics are asked to study and reflect on the documents of Vatican II and the catechism so that they may deepen their knowledge of the faith.
3. The Year of Faith begins in October 2012 with a Synod on New Evangelization. What is a synod?
A synod of bishops is a gathering of bishops, selected from different areas of the world, who meet with the pope to discuss questions pertaining to the activity of the Church in the world. This meeting of bishops helps to foster a closer unity between the bishops and the pope, and provides counsel to the pope. Pope Benedict XVI has situated the Synod on the New Evangelization (October 7-28) at the beginning of the Year of Faith (October 11).
4. How are Year of Faith and New Evangelization linked?
The New Evangelization is a call to each Catholic to deepen his or her own faith, have confidence in the Gospel, and possess a willingness to share the Gospel. The New Evangelization is first and foremost a personal encounter with Jesus Christ; it is an invitation to deepen one’s relationship with Christ. It is also a call to each person to share his or her faith with others. The Year of Faith, just like the New Evangelization, calls Catholics to conversion in order to deepen their relationship with Christ and to share it with others.
5. How does the Year of Faith affect the average Catholic?
Every baptized Catholic is called through baptism to be a disciple of Christ and proclaim the Gospel. The Year of Faith is an opportunity for each and every Catholic to renew their baptismal call by living out the everyday moments of their lives with faith, hope and love. This everyday witness is necessary for proclaiming the Gospel to family, friends, neighbors and society. In order to witness to the Gospel, Catholics must be strengthened through celebrating weekly Sunday Mass and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Pastors are encouraged to provide their parishioners with opportunities to deepen their faith during the Year of Faith through retreats, special liturgies, Bible studies, service opportunities and formation sessions on the catechism and sacraments.
6. What are some key resources for the Year of Faith?
Catholics wishing to deepen their faith during the Year of Faith should start by exploring the Evangelization and Catechesis section of the USCCB website. Numerous catechetical resources, prayers and other resources have been prepared for the Year of Faith and the New Evangelization that can be viewed and downloaded for free. Catholics should also consider studying the documents of Vatican II and the catechism. Another resource is the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, which takes the teachings of the catechism and shares them within a uniquely American context and highlights American Catholic saints and role models. Catholics can also talk to their pastors and other parish leaders to learn about what activities and opportunities will be taking place within their communities. Most importantly, Catholics seeking to deepen their faith should pray daily, study Scripture and celebrate weekly Sunday Mass.
YEAR OF FAITH INTERCESSIONS
For the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, and for all bishops, that God will give them the grace and wisdom to touch the lives and hearts of many during this Year of Faith.
For the Church throughout the world, that this Year of Faith may be a time of spiritual renewal and personal encounter with Christ for people everywhere.
For the sick and the suffering, that this Year of Faith may be a time for them to experience Christ even in the midst of their illnesses and needs.
May this Year of Faith be a time to renew our love for Christ and the Church and to enter into a deeper devotion to the Virgin Mary.
May our deepening of faith during this Year of Faith help us to long for justice and peace in the world.
Through reading and studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the documents of the Second Vatican Council, may all Catholics come to know and love the doctrines of the faith and grow in a desire to share the saving truths of Jesus Christ in our homes, places of work and community.
May this Year of Faith fill our parish community with an outpouring of virtue.
May God the Father watch over and bless all families during the Year of Faith, that it may be a time for families to grow closer to one another and to Christ.
May the Year of Faith be an opportunity for Catholics to renew their baptismal vocation and grow in zeal to share the gospel with others.
As this Year of Faith begins, may it be a time of an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all parents, catechists, clergy and lay faithful who share the gift of the faith with others.
May the Year of Faith enrich us with a greater love for God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in such a way that others ask God the reason for our hope.
May the Year of Faith be a time for all Catholics to renew their desire and zeal for the Eucharist and to avail themselves regularly of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Penance.
During this Year of Faith, may all Catholics publicly proclaim their love for Christ and his Church.
May this Year of Faith remind us of ways to serve those in our midst who are overlooked, ignored or rejected, so that all may experience the peace and healing of Christ’s love.
May the Holy Spirit guide the Church during the Year of Faith so that all Catholics may experience a deepened renewal of faith, hope and love.
May young people be inspired by this Year of Faith to listen attentively and respond to God’s call to priesthood and religious life.
May the faithful grow in understanding and love of the calls to marriage and the single life, realizing the vital role these vocations play in the work .