Opening Mass – October 11, 2012
A special Mass with celebrant Bishop Barbarito will be celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Ignatius in Palm Beach Gardens at 7 p.m. to observe the beginning of the “Year of Faith.”
The Year of Faith Image:
The boat represents the image of the Church, surfing the waves. Hoisting the sails is the mast which is a cross. The cross is the sign of love and a sign of our faith. Together with the cross is the sign of the Eucharist, and the Eucharist for Catholics is at the center of our lives and is the center of the life of faith.
At certain times in the history of the Church, popes have called upon the faithful to dedicate themselves to deepening their understanding of a particular aspect of the faith. The Year of Faith declared by Pope Benedict XVI is a “summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the One Savior of the world” (Porta fidei 6). In other words, the Year of Faith is an opportunity for Catholics to experience a conversion – to turn back to Jesus and enter into a deeper relationship with him. The pope has described this conversion as opening the “door of faith” (see Acts 14:27). The “door of faith” is opened at one’s baptism, but during this year Catholics are called to open it again, walk through it and rediscover and renew their relationship with Christ and his Church.
The Year of Faith is a celebration by the entire Catholic Church. Pope Benedict announced the Year of Faith to confront secularism and other challenges and to encourage Catholics to rediscover the faith and the “joy and enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ.” The Year of Faith focuses on the New Evangelization.
During the Year of Faith, Catholics are asked to study and reflect on the documents of Vatican II and the catechism so that they may deepen their knowledge of the faith. Catholics are also asked to observe daily prayer during the Year of Faith, including memorizing and recitation of the Nicene Creed and the Act of Faith.
The Significance of the Date
Pope Benedict declared that the Year of Faith will begin on October 11, 2012, and conclude on November 24, 2013. The Pope chose October 11 as the opening date because on this day two important anniversaries occur: October 11 is the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It will end on November 24, 2013, the feast of Christ the King
How does the Year of Faith affect the average Catholic?
Every baptized Catholic is called through baptism to be a disciple of Christ and proclaim the Gospel. The Year of Faith is an opportunity for each and every Catholic to renew their baptismal call by living out the everyday moments of their lives with faith, hope and love. This everyday witness is necessary for proclaiming the Gospel to family, friends, neighbors and society. In order to witness to the Gospel, Catholics must be strengthened through celebrating weekly Sunday Mass and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Pastors are encouraged to provide their parishioners with opportunities to deepen their faith during the Year of Faith through retreats, special liturgies, Bible studies, service opportunities and formation sessions on the catechism and sacraments.
Are there special prayers for the Year of Faith?
During the Year of Faith, Pope Benedict has asked Catholics to memorize the Nicene Creed prayer and the Act of Faith prayer. In addition, the Pope has asked us to pray the World Mission Rosary which was conceived in 1951 by the Servant of God, Archbishop Fulton Sheen. In a radio broadcast, he explained that praying this rosary would “aid the Holy Father and his Society for the Propagation of the Faith by supplying him with practical support, as well as prayers, for the poor mission territories of the world.” “When the rosary is completed, one has…embraced all continents, all people in prayer,” he added. “Won’t you please make a tour of the world on your World Mission Rosary?”
How are Year of Faith and New Evangelization linked?
In 2012, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis developed a document called “Disciples Called to Witness: The New Evangelization” meant to rekindle the faith of Catholics, whether practicing or not.
The Year of Faith focuses on the New Evangelization. It is a call to each Catholic to deepen his or her own faith, have confidence in the Gospel, and possess a willingness to share the Gospel. The New Evangelization is first and foremost a personal encounter with Jesus Christ; it is an invitation to deepen one’s relationship with Christ. It is also a call to each person to share his or her faith with others. The Year of Faith, just like the New Evangelization, calls Catholics to conversion in order to deepen their relationship with Christ and to share it with others.
What are some key resources for the Year of Faith?
Catholics wishing to deepen their faith during the Year of Faith should:
Start by exploring the Evangelization and Catechesis section of the USCCB website. Numerous catechetical resources, prayers and other resources have been prepared for the Year of Faith and the New Evangelization that can be viewed and downloaded for free.
Catholics should also consider studying the documents of Vatican II and the catechism.
Another resource is the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, which takes the teachings of the catechism and shares them within a uniquely American context and highlights American Catholic saints and role models.
Catholics can also talk to their pastors and other parish leaders to learn about what activities and opportunities will be taking place within their communities.
Most importantly, Catholics seeking to deepen their faith should pray daily, study Scripture and celebrate weekly Sunday Mass.
What other significant event will take place at the beginning of the Year of Faith? For the answer to that question, and to read more quick Questions and Answers regarding the Year of Faith, please click here.