The Year of Faith Note is broken up into seven sections, so my two-part summary will use those same headings. The purpose of this Note is to unpack the Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Letter, Porta Fidei and give practical advice on the implementation of a Year of Faith. All quotes below are taken from The Year of Faith Note.
The Year of Faith coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of Vatican II and the twentieth anniversary of promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The four main Constitutions of the Council are Lumen Gentium (The Church), Sacrosanctum Concilium (Sacred Liturgy), Dei Verbum (Divine Revelation), and Gaudium et Spes (The Church in the Modern World).
Since Pope Benedict XVI has been pope he has worked for a more correct understanding of the Council and its work. The Catechism provides us with two thousand years of teaching from Scripture, the Church Fathers, Saints, and theologians.
Faith is gift from God and in professing that faith there is both a personal trust in God and our belief in the Creed. Faith and life cannot be separated. Our life is an expression of our faith.
On the level of the Universal Church
In October 2012 the XIII General Assembly of the Ordinary Synod of Bishops, whose theme is “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith” will convene.
Pilgrimages to the Vatican, the Holy Land and Marian shrines are encouraged. Devotion to Mary is suggested so to recognize her role “in the mystery of salvation, love her and follow her as a model of faith and virtue.” World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro will be an opportunity for youth and young adults to experience the larger Church community.
We are asked to study the primary documents of Vatican II (mentioned in the Introduction) and the Catechism, to be more receptive to the teaching of the Pope, and to renew our “efforts in effective and heart-felt adherence to the teaching of the Successor of Peter.”
Ecumenism should also be promoted with events and other initiatives to promote “restoration of unity among all Christians.”
A Secretariat will coordinate all the initiatives of the Holy See and have a website dedicated solely to the Year of Faith.
At the conclusion of the year, on November 24, 2013, a solemn renewal of the profession of faith will take place at a Eucharist celebrated by the Pope.
On the level of the Episcopal Conference
Each Conference is asked to spend a day of study about the topic of faith. They are also asked to disseminate information about saints particular to their specific areas and use art as a means of catechesis.
Publications of the documents of Vatican II, the Catechism and Compendium are to be distributed more widely, in particular through electronic media. Translations should also be done if they are lacking in certain languages. Local Catechisms should be looked at to determine that they are in complete conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Other publications to be produced include “pamphlets and leaflets of an apologetic nature” which could help people to respond to questions about secularism, relativism, or other issues.
Pastors can promote the discussion of faith and the significance of Vatican II through all forms of media.
Educators in Catholic institutions of higher learning “should be encouraged in their teaching to demonstrate the relevance” of their subject matter to the Catechism.
The second post in this two-part summary, which will be posted in two weeks, will look at the suggestions for the Diocesan and Parish level and the conclusion. The entire Note is available here on the Vatican website.
Copyright © 2012, Deanna Bartalini