Pope Benedict has declared a Year of Faith which begins on 11th October 2012 and ends on 24th November 2013, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King. This event marks both the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which was prepared following the Council.
Why a Year of Faith?
The Year of Faith is an opportunity for each one of us to reflect on and renew our enthusiasm for our faith so that we can profess it, share it with others, and lead people to Jesus Christ.
Below are some passages from the two Vatican documents about the Year of Faith which might be used for individual reflection or group discussion.
What are we invited to do?
Everything we do to mark the Year of Faith should aid ‘the joyous rediscovery of the faith and its renewed proclamation’. We can again ‘taste and see that the Lord is good’ and give that simple message to others. Some of the ways we can do this are:
• Meditating on the Holy Father’s apostolic letter Porta Fidei.
• Reflecting on what our faith actually means for us and how we make it our own; rediscovering the content of faith as something we profess, celebrate, live out and pray.
• Deepening our knowledge and understanding of the documents of Vatican II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (see NPR 1.6) and ‘drawing from them resources for … catechesis, preaching, Sacramental preparation’.
• Witnessing through our lives,especially to those who are searching for meaning and truth.
• Professing the faith ‘in fullness and with renewed conviction, with confidence and hope.’
• Celebrating our faith in the liturgy,especially the Eucharist.
• Undertaking pilgrimages to the Holy Land, Marian shrines and Rome.
What is faith?
At the heart of our Christian faith is an encounter with a person – the Risen Christ. This encounter ‘gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.’
‘The “door of faith” (Acts 14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church. It is possible to cross that threshold when the word of God is proclaimed and the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace. To enter through that door is to set out on a journey that lasts a lifetime.’
What is the Year of Faith?
The Year of Faith is an opportunity for renewed conversion to the Lord Jesus ‘so that the members of the Church will be credible and joy-filled witnesses to the Risen Lord in the world of today – capable of leading those many people who are seeking it to the “door of faith” […] Today, there is a need for stronger commitment of the church community to a ‘new evange- lization in order to rediscover the joy of believing and the enthusiasm for communicating the faith.’