The Year of Faith – What’s it all about?

Year of Faith Poster

The Year of Faith began yesterday. Here is a short and simple explanation of what it is and why it’s happening. A Q&A which we hope will prove useful.

What is the Year of Faith?

Pope Benedict XVI has called the Year of Faith as a special time in which Catholics are asked to better know and spread the message of God’s love shown in Jesus to all the world.

Why now?

The starting date of the Year of Faith (yesterday) has been chosen because it marks two very important anniversaries for the Church.

1. The 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council (11th October 1962 – 8th December 1965).
2. The 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (11th October, 1992).

Why does that matter?

Together they are a fantastic way of knowing what the Catholic Church teaches. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is an explanation of that faith divided into four broad sections: what we believe, how we worship, how we live, and how we pray.

The documents of the Second Vatican Council have addressed everything from the Church’s relationship with other religions and the secular world, to how she should continue her work of spreading the word of Jesus in the modern era.

What should I do?

The Church in this year, asks all the faithful to commit themselves once more to take up the journey that ultimately leads to heaven.

Eternal life is what is on offer for each person, through the death and resurrection of Jesus. This is, and always has been the central message of Christianity and it must continue to be so today.

What practical activities do you suggest to deepen my Faith in this Good News?

Here are 10 simple things you could try.

1. Read the life of a saint
2. Go on a pilgrimage
3. Choose a section of the Catechism to study
4. Go to Confession more often
5. Read one of the main documents of Vatican II
6. Join a prayer group in your parish
7. Learn the Creed by heart
8. Say a prayer to the Virgin Mary every day
9. Devote greater attention to the Mass and homily
10. Get involved in a parish mission

Above all, the Year of Faith is about drawing closer to Jesus. All the things listed above are ways to achieve that ultimate end. Jesus is closest to us during the Holy Eucharist, so going to Mass is the most important thing you can do. Be with him and receive him who is the God who loves you. It is God’s love and life that the world is waiting for, as Pope Benedict has written:

“Faith commits every one of us to become a living sign of the presence of the Risen Lord in the world. What the world is in particular need of today is the credible witness of people enlightened in mind and heart by the word of the Lord, and capable of opening the hearts and minds of many to the desire for God and for true life, life without end.”
(Porta Fidei, 15)

Of related interest:

Companion to Faith –This booklet is full of practical ideas about increasing your knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith over the course of this special year.
Year of Faith Prayer Book – A special collection of prayers on the themes of the Year of Faith
Porta Fidei – Gate of Faith – In this document proclaiming a ‘Year of Faith’ to run from October 2012 up to the feast of Christ the King in 2013, Pope Benedict explains his reasons for calling this year, and how he intends to bring the faithful to a renewed proclamation of the Christian creed.

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