Faith is the fundamental act of Christian existence. Pope Benedict XVI (Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures, Pg. 77)
Fifty years ago on October 11th a seismic shift occurred in Rome, sending shock waves throughout the worldwide Church that have been magnified up to this very day.
This Year Just Got a Whole Lot Faithy-er
On this fiftieth anniversary of Vatican II and the twentieth anniversary of the writing of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Pope has inaugurated a "Year of Faith", calling the faithful to focus on knowing, living, and sharing their faith better for the next year.
Here are 5 things you need to know about the Year of Faith:
1. What is the Year of Faith?
- Starts October 11, 2012 and ends November 23, 2013
- A "summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the One Savior of the world" (Porta Fidei #6).
- A call to know our faith, live our faith, and share our faith
Several times in the recent history of the Church Popes have challenged the faithful to dive deeper by announcing a year long focus on a specific aspect of the faith. I did some research and found these past "Years of"...
2009-2010 Year of Priests and St. John Vianny 2008-2009 Year of St. Paul 2004-2005 Year of the Eucharist 1983-1984 Holy Year of Redemption 1967-1968 First Year of Faith Announced by Pope Paul VI
Pope Benedict XVI announced this Year of Faith in an Apostolic Letter titled "Porta Fedei" (Door of Faith) in which he explains "The Year of Faith ... is a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Saviour of the world."
"If today the Church proposes a new Year of Faith and a new evangelization," Pope Benedict explained in a homily at the Opening Mass for the Year of Faith "it is not to honor an anniversary, but because there is more need of it, even more than there was fifty years ago! And the reply to be given to this need is the one desired by the Popes, by the Council Fathers, and contained in its documents."
2. Resources for the Year of Faith
- Pope Benedict XVI's Apostolic Letter "Door of Faith" announcing and explaining the Year of Faith
- Pope's homily he gave today at the Opening Mass for the Year of Faith
- Year of Faith Website!!!
- USCCB's Resources for the Year of Faith
- Even More Resources!!!
- Want to learn your faith? Read the Catechism in a year!
3. Official Prayer for the Year of Faith
What could be better for the Year of Faith than a prayer that encapsulates our faith, a prayer of faith said around the world, and established in the fourth century? None other than that oldie-but-goodie: The Nicene Creed.
That's right folks, the Nicene Creed is the official prayer for the Year of Faith. Pray it often, learn it, memorize it, share it, write it on your stuff, spray paint it, love it - many martyrs shed their blood to ensure that this creed of faith would be passed on to you.
It is by believing with the heart that you are justified, and by making the declaration with your lips that you are saved. May the year of faith lead all believers to learn by heart the creed and to say it every day as a prayer, so that the breathing agrees with the faith. --From the Pastoral Aid for the Year of Faith
4. Plenary Indulgence for the Year of Faith
Everyone loves indulgences. Get rid of some temporal punishment for your sins, or offer it up for someone else (I could use it!). Here are the requirements as explained from the Year of Faith website.
During the Year of Faith, which will last from 11 October 2012 to 24 November 2013, Plenary Indulgence for the temporal punishment of sins, imparted by the mercy of God and applicable also to the souls of deceased faithful, may be obtained by all faithful who, truly penitent, take Sacramental Confession and the Eucharist and pray in accordance with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.
(A) Each time they attend at least three sermons during the Holy Missions, or at least three lessons on the Acts of the Council or the articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in church or any other suitable location.
(B) Each time they visit, in the course of a pilgrimage, a papal basilica, a Christian catacomb, a cathedral church or a holy site designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith (for example, minor basilicas and shrines dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Apostles or patron saints), and there participate in a sacred celebration, or at least remain for a congruous period of time in prayer and pious meditation, concluding with the recitation of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, and invocations to the Blessed Virgin Mary and, depending on the circumstances, to the Holy Apostles and patron saints.
(C) Each time that, on the days designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith, ... in any sacred place, they participate in a solemn celebration of the Eucharist or the Liturgy of the Hours, adding thereto the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form.
(D) On any day they chose, during the Year of Faith, if they make a pious visit to the baptistery, or other place in which they received the Sacrament of Baptism, and there renew their baptismal promises in any legitimate form.
... faithful who, due to illness or other legitimate cause, are unable to leave their place of adobe, may still obtain Plenary Indulgence "if, united in spirit and thought with other faithful, and especially at the times when the words of the Supreme Pontiff and diocesan bishops are transmitted by television or radio, they recite ... the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, and other prayers that concord with the objectives of the Year of Faith, offering up the suffering and discomfort of their lives".
5. Year of Faith Website
It's got it all: the Catechism, the Compendium to the Catechism, the official hymn for the Year of Faith, a Mass for the Year of Faith, a collection of homilies by the Pope on Church Fathers, Apostles and medieval theologians, news for the Year of Faith, a worldwide calendar of events, a publication on the New Evangelization, how to obtain a plenary indulgence for the Year of Faith, and lots more.
So Get Out There and Grow In Faith!