Year of Faith
What Is the Year of Faith?
Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has called for the entire Church around the world to celebrate a special “Year of Faith.” It will begin October 11, 2012, the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It will end on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King, on November 24, 2013. The starting date also marks the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
All parishes and other Catholic communities are urged to take this year as an opportunity to help Catholics deepen their faith and share their faith with those outside the Church. How do we go about doing that? The Holy Father tells us in the Apostolic Letter that announced the year: “We must rediscover a taste for feeding ourselves on the word of God, faithfully handed down by the Church, and on the bread of life, offered as sustenance for his disciples” (Porta Fidei, October 11, 2011).
The convergence of the papal Year of Faith and the U.S. Bishops’ catechetical theme presents a rich opportunity for catechesis. This year, beginning on October 11, 2012, is further enhanced by the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The Papal Year of Faith invites all Catholics to renewal and conversion.
- 50th Anniversary of the Convening of the Second Vatican Council opened by Pope John XXIII in 1963 called the Church to holiness.
- 20th Anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: a comprehensive, declarative statement of our Faith.
The apostolic letter published by the Holy Father announcing this special year is called Porta Fidei (“The Door of Faith”). It lays out the goals for the celebration and how all Catholics can take part to make it a season for deepening their faith and drawing closer to God. For the full text of Porta Fidei in English, click here [http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/motu_proprio/documents/hf_ben-xvi_motu-proprio_20111011_porta-fidei_en.html].
For the full text in Spanish, click here [http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/motu_proprio/documents/hf_ben-xvi_motu-proprio_20111011_porta-fidei_sp.html].
St. Vincent de Paul Adult Faith Formation will offer a number of programs and events that will help you grow in faith during this momentous year so be sure to look for details in our weekly parish bulletin.
Recommendations from the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith (CDF):
1. In preparation for the Year of Faith, all of the faithful are invited to read closely and meditate upon Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Letter, Porta fidei.
2. The Year of Faith “will also be a good opportunity to intensify the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist.” In the Eucharist, mystery of faith and source of the new evangelization, the faith of the Church is proclaimed, celebrated and strengthened. All of the faithful are invited to participate in the Eucharist actively, fruitfully and with awareness, in order to be authentic witnesses of the Lord.
3. Priests should devote greater attention to the study of the documents of Vatican Council II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, drawing from them resources for the pastoral care of their parishes – catechesis, preaching, Sacramental preparation. They should also offer cycles of homilies on the faith or on certain specific aspects such as, for example, “the encounter with Christ”, “the fundamental contents of the Creed”, and “faith and the Church.”
4. Catechists should hold more firmly to the doctrinal richness of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and, under the direction of their pastors, offer guidance in reading this precious document to groups of faithful, working toward a deeper common understanding thereof, with the goal of creating small communities of faith, and of giving witness to the Lord Jesus.
5. It is hoped that there will be a renewed commitment in parishes to the distribution of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and of other resources appropriate for families, which are true domestic churches and the primary setting for the transmission of the faith. This might be done, for example, during the blessing of homes, the Baptism of adults, Confirmations and Marriages. This can contribute to the deepening of Catholic teaching “in our homes and among our families, so that everyone may feel a strong need to know better and to transmit to future generations the faith of all times.”
6. The promotion of missions and other popular programs in parishes and in the workplace can help the faithful to rediscover the gift of Baptismal faith and the task of giving witness, knowing that the Christian vocation “by its very nature is also a vocation to the apostolate.”
7. During this time, members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and of Societies of Apostolic Life are asked to work towards the new evangelization with a renewed union to the Lord Jesus, each according to their proper charism, in fidelity to the Holy Father and to sound doctrine.
8. Contemplative communities, during the Year of Faith, should pray specifically for the renewal of the faith among the People of God and for a new impulse for its transmission to the young.
9. Associations and Ecclesial Movements are invited to promote specific initiatives which, through the contribution of their proper charism and in collaboration with their local Pastors, will contribute to the wider experience of the Year of Faith. The new Communities and Ecclesial Movements, in a creative and generous way, will be able to find the most appropriate ways in which to offer their witness to the faith in service to the Church.
10. All of the faithful, called to renew the gift of faith, should try to communicate their own experience of faith and charity to their brothers and sisters of other religions, with those who do not believe, and with those who are just indifferent. In this way, it is hoped that the entire Christian people will begin a kind of mission toward those with whom they live and work, knowing that they “have welcomed the news of salvation which is meant for every man.”
“The Year of Faith … is a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Savior of the world. … We want to celebrate this Year in a worthy and fruitful manner. Reflection on the faith will have to be intensified, so as to help all believers in Christ to acquire a more conscious and vigorous adherence to the Gospel. … We want this Year to arouse in every believer the aspiration to profess the faith in fullness and with renewed conviction, with confidence and hope.” - Pope Benedict XVI