Editor’s note: Today we welcome Deanna Bartalini to the New Evangelizers blogging team!
Pope Benedict XVI has written an Apostolic Letter to announce the Year of Faith beginning October 11, 2012 and ending November 24, 2013.
The date it’s beginning is very important in Catholic history. October 11, 2012 is the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican II, called by Blessed Pope John XXIII, as well as the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, put forth by Blessed Pope John Paul II.
Pope Benedict is reminding us, as he often has in his pontificate, “to rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ.”
The Year of Faith coincides with the General assembly of the Synod of Bishops theme of “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.” This is the second time in recent history that we, the Church, have celebrated a Year of Faith. The Servant of God Pope Paul VI chose this theme in 1967 to “commemorate the martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul.”
In this Apostolic letter Pope Benedict XVI asks us to renew our conversion towards Christ and be witnesses to his saving power, truth and love that he left for us. He invites all of us to join him “in recalling the precious gift of faith” and “celebrate this Year in a worthy and fruitful manner.” Our faith grows stronger through belief and then we are compelled to profess, celebrate and witness that same faith.
In the next part of the letter, Pope Benedict XVI outlines a way to help us understand faith and entrusting ourselves to God. He reminds that “faith is God’s gift and the action of grace which acts and transforms the person deep within.” That transformation causes us to profess both privately and publicly our faith in Jesus. Our profession of faith also takes place in community and cannot only be expressed privately.
Along with professing our faith we must have knowledge of our faith. With knowledge we open a “door into the fullness of the saving mystery revealed by God.” Faith also calls us to serve others so Pope Benedict XVI urges us to “intensify the witness of charity” as “faith without charity bears no fruit.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is an important tool to provide support of our faith and increase our knowledge. Additionally, a Note will be drawn up by the Congregation for the Doctrine of faith with guidelines to the Church and believers on how to live out this Year of Faith.
The Pope also encourages us to retrace the history of our faith to see the contributions made by many men and women to develop community and continue the work of conversion in our own lives. Through our continued conversion we will “experience the mercy of the Father which is held out to everyone.”
Pope Benedict XVI reminds us of the many people throughout history who live by faith, beginning with Mary’s fiat, continuing to the apostles, and throughout history including all those who have been martyred for their faith and ending that “By faith, we too live: by the living recognition of the Lord Jesus, present in our lives and in our history.”
Note: Be sure to stay updated on the Year of Faith at the Vatican-sponsored website, which includes news, updates, resources, and more!
Copyright © 2012, Deanna Bartalini