The Note continues with recommendations for each Diocese and local communities including parishes and associations.
At the Diocesan level
Each diocese is asked to have a celebration and conclusion marking the Year of Faith along with a day of study of the Catechism, especially for priests, consecrated persons and catechists. Other suggestions include a pastoral letter from each Bishop on faith as well as continuing education of clergy with a focus on the Catechism and Vatican II documents.
Catechetical events focusing on the beauty and relevance of faith may be organized for youth, Catholic schools and Universities. Topics would include faith, the connection between faith and reason, and living witness.
Bishops are also asked to plan penitential celebrations for all the faithful, especially during Lent and encourage a more frequent reception of the sacrament.
At the level of the parish/community/association/movement
We are asked to read and mediate on Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Letter, Porta fidei as well as participate more fully in the Eucharist.
Priests should study the Catechism and documents of Vatican II and use them as resources when teaching their parishes. Resources such as the Catechism can also be distributed to parishioners, especially those preparing for sacraments.
Catechists, working with pastors, can form small groups to study the Catechism, creating faith communities and giving witness. Another form of witness is promoting missions and other programs in parishes.
Institutes of Consecrated Life (religious priests, sisters, nuns, brothers, e.g. Franciscans, Salesians ) and Societies of Apostolic Life (communities which come together for a specific mission, e.g. Paulist Fathers, Maryknoll) are asked to use work towards the new evangelization, according to their specific charism. Contemplative communities should pray for the renewal of faith for all people and a renewed desire to transmit the faith to young people.
Associations and Ecclesial Movements (groups of people who come together to promote a Catholic teachings or a particular mission, e.g. Cursillo, Legion of Mary) can promote programs which are suited to their charism and be further witnesses to faith in the Church.
We are all asked to communicate our faith experiences with those who do not share our faith, have no faith or are indifferent to faith.
Faith “is a gift from God that is lived in the communion of the Church and must be communicated to the world. Every initiative for the Year of Faith should be designed to aid in the joyous rediscovery of the faith and its renewed transmission.”
As I read over the actual document, Porta fidea and the accompanying Note I was struck by how many times it is recommended to learn more about our faith. It seems very obvious and yet many do not avail themselves of opportunities presented or live in parishes where faith formation’s focus is mainly on children.
We are also reminded that the sacraments are the ways we most easily encounter Christ and so are asked to frequent confession and Mass more often.
As we move forward, I will present plans and resources which can be used to fully enter into the Year of Faith and move closer to Christ by sharing our faith with others.
Copyright © 2012, Deanna Bartalini