What is the Year of Faith?
My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, today, I take this opportunity during our Archbishop Alain de Boismenu Annual Pilgrimage Mass to reflect and promote the theme of “Communio” as well as offer some guidelines with a very brief summary of what the Year of Faith is all about. As many of you may already know or heard, Pope Benedict XVI announced that the Catholic Church throughout the world will celebrate a Year of Faith beginning in the month of October 2012, through to November 2013.
What is the YEAR OF FAITH?
“We cannot accept that salt should become tasteless or the light be kept hidden.” As Jesus said to his disciples, you must be salt of the earth and light of the world thus Pope Benedict XVI’s – Porta Fidei, (Door of Faith) the Apostolic Letter for the Introduction of the Year of Faith - invites us all as Christians to give witness and offer flavour, meaning, relevance and joyful taste to our everyday life as people faithfully shining with the radiance of the Light of Christ.
Pope Benedict XVI announced that the Church will celebrate a Year of Faith beginning on October 11, 2012, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the promulgation (presentation) of the Catechism of the Catholic Church which will end on November 24, 2013, the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King (Christ the King).
Both of these events (Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church) are significant moments in the faith life of Catholics throughout the world as well as for our diocese. Likewise, the opening of the Year of Faith will coincide with the recent General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which was held in Rome in October, 2012, with the theme of The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith to the present and current generation as well as “as important and necessary also for the next generation.”
The Year of Faith is designed to renew the faith of all Catholics so that we will be more credible, joy-filled witnesses to the Risen Lord firstly in our families and basic Christian Communities, in our work places and villages and parishes and extending into the world today. We must be courageous and brave as individuals and communities capable of leading others to faith in Jesus Christ who revealed the Father to us and invites us in and through the Holy Spirit to live in this life of communion as the source and reflection of the inner life of the Holy Trinity.
The Goal of the Year of Faith is to foster:
ü an encounter a personal encounter event with Jesus Christ (which is the foundation of our faith) through authentic witnesses to our faith in words and actions,
ü a deeper understanding of the truths of our faith that Jesus Christ revealed and fulfilled in the Scriptures and in the Celebration of the Sacraments.
At the universal level of the Church, the faithful are encouraged to:
ü participate in pilgrimages to sacred sites closely tied to our faith such as Rome, the Holy Land and Marian sites
ü participate in conferences that encourage encounters with authentic witnesses to faith and promote understanding of the contents of our Catholic faith
ü deepen our knowledge of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
ü support and participate in ecumenical initiatives and collaborations
At the diocesan level, I would encourage us to:
ü mark the opening and conclusion of the Year of Faith with special celebrations as this occasion today, issue a pastoral letter on the significance (and relevance) of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and organize catechetical study days throughout the year on the themes, documents, and resources related to these two significant moments in the life of the Church.
ü review how the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church have been received and implemented in our families, basic Christian Communities, deaneries and parishes in our diocese
ü organize penitential celebrations asking for forgiveness for sins against the faith (with an emphasis on approaching the Sacrament of Penance with more faith and frequency)
ü promote encounters with non-believers especially those who have fallen away from their Christian faith
At the local level, I would encourage parishes to:
ü read, reflect on, and discuss the Holy Father’s Apostolic Letter on the Year of Faith Porta Fidei (Open the Door)
ü intensify celebration of the faith especially in our celebration of the Eucharist
ü devote greater attention to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (through homilies, days of study, greater accessibility to resources related to these two significant moments in the life of the Church)
ü help catechists to hold more firmly to the doctrinal richness of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and make resources related to the CCC more available to the domestic church especially in the families
ü organize parish missions designed to renew commitment to giving witness to our faith
ü renew our personal efforts to communicate our experience of faith to others – (Faith Sharing Encounters)
Every initiative for the Year of Faith should be designed to assist in the joyous rediscovery of the beauty and richness of our Catholic faith and its renewed transmission to the next generation.
Many of us Catholics do not know what we the Catholic Church actually teaches and believe. Others practice a "buai and burus, (betelnut and smoke) Catholic"- meaning - choosing what parts of the faith they will follow. Some profess our Catholic Creed but confine its influence only to participation in the Liturgy on Sunday. This has led to what the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council warned against as - the "greatest error (the greatest mistake) of our age, the separation between faith and everyday-life."
The rejection of the presence of the objective truth as Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the life has been compromise to what has been referred to by Pope Benedict XVI as a "Dictatorship of Relativism" meaning each one chooses as they want and how they want it, it’s my choice and it’s my way. The contemporary culture has embraced a "new" paganism; a new rejection and denial of God which is just the old paganism but this time dressed up in the modern secular and technological language of an age that pretence to be "enlightened" when is in fact bound in the ignorance and darkness with confusion which attempts the total rejection of God.
The Year of Faith is an open call, an invitation to an authentic and renewed personal conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ, the one and only Savior of the world. In the mystery of His death and resurrection, God has revealed in its fullness the Love that saves and calls us to a more radical conversion of life. The 'Door of Faith' is always open for us. It is possible for each of us as individuals as well as families and communities to cross that threshold, that door, when the Word of God is proclaimed faithfully everyday and our hearts and minds allow our inner selves to be shaped and modeled by this transforming grace.
So this missionary Pope Benedict XVI has announced a "Year of Faith". It will run from October 11, 2012, until November 24, 2013, when the universal church celebrates the Solemnity of Christ the King. He assures us throughout the whole world that during this Year of Faith, "It will be a moment of grace and commitment to a more complete conversion to God, to strengthen our faith in Him and proclaim Him with joy to all the people especially our brothers and sisters of our time"
In this same light and spirit I would like to declare open the 60th Anniversary of the death of the Venerable Servant of God- Alain Marie Guynot de Boismenu 5th November 2012 – 5th November 2013
May Blessed Peter ToRot and Blessed John Mazzuconi, The Venerable Servant of God, Alain de Boismenu and Mary – the Handmaid of the Lord and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart - intercede for us and pray for us that our faith may be firm and deepen in Jesus Christ Our Lord, through the power and promptings of the Holy Spirit to enter into a more deeper union and communion with the God the Father, who is the source of all our life and the fulfillment of our being.