THE YEAR OF FAITH
On Thursday last Pope Benedict inaugurated THE YEAR OF FAITH. Thursday (Oct 11th) was the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. The 11th October also marked the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. And of course, the Synod of Bishops got under way last week as well –dedicated to the new Evangelization.
The idea of a Year of Faith arises from an ancient custom of marking special anniversaries. Pope Boniface VIII started this trend in 1300 suggesting a Holy Year every 100 years. It soon came down to every 50 years and by the fifteenth century it was every 25 years! Holy Years were associated with pilgrimages and with times of focussed spiritual renewal. Some will remember the Marian Year (in 1954); Pope Paul VI designated 1967 as a Year of Faith to commemorate the martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul.
Pope Benedict’s idea for this Year of Faith is that the whole Church is being called to Profess the faith in fullness and with renewed conviction, confidence and hope; the Church is being invited to Celebrate the faith in the liturgy especially in the Eucharist; and finally the Church wants to bear Witness to the life of faith, making the Gospel more credible.
The overriding sense about the Year of Faith is of the joy of believing:
“Faith grows when it is lived as an experience of love received and when it is communicated as an experience of grace and joy. It makes us fruitful, because it expands our hearts in hope and enable us to bear life-giving witness” (Pope Benedict in his Apostolic letter “Porta Fidei” announcing the Year of Faith –full text available on the internet).
In our deanery we will launch the Year of Faith with a special Eucharist here in Holy Redeemer Church on November 9th at 7 p.m. Throughout the year (which runs till November 24th 2013) we will focus on various aspects of the faith and we will have plenty of opportunity to celebrate the great gift we have received.
We entrust this time of grace to the Mother of God, “proclaimed blessed because she believed” (Lk 1:45).
Fr Sean Wales, C.Ss.R.