Celebrating a Year of Faith
From Dan Conway’s The Good Steward, July 2012
The Year of Faith is a celebration by the entire Catholic Church that begins October 1, 2012—the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church— and concludes November 14, 2013, the feast of Christ the King. Pope Benedict XVI announced the Year of Faith to confront secularism and other challenges faced by our Church and to encourage Catholics to rediscover the faith and the “joy and enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ.”
The Year of Faith focuses on the New Evangelization. This effort to rekindle the faith of all Catholic Christians, whether practicing or not, was a central theme of Blessed Pope John Paul II. It has been continued and expanded under Pope Benedict.
Too often in the past, we Catholics considered “evangelization” to be the work of missionaries who traveled to foreign lands, or remote areas of our own country, to spread the Gospel to those who had never been presented with the truths of our Catholic faith. Recent popes since the time of the Second Vatican Council have affirmed the work of those who introduce the person of Jesus Christ to those who have not yet heard his Good News. But they have also emphasized the importance of calling all baptized Christians to a renewed encounter with the one who is the source and substance of all that we believe.
Why should we observe a Year of Faith?
With all the pressing issues facing our Church and our society today, why is it important to take time out to revisit our most fundamental beliefs as a community of Jesus’ disciples?
According to Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin,“The central image of the Year of Faith is the ‘door of faith’ based on Acts of the Apostles. Bishop Ricken is chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis. In his presentation to the bishops at their summer meeting in Atlanta last month, Bishop Ricken noted that “the ‘door of faith’ is opened at one’s baptism, but during this year we are called to open it again, walk though it and rediscover and renew our relationship with Christ and his Church.” …