Why now? "Year of Faith"
So why now? It's no coincidence that the Year of Faith starts on 11 October - the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. The word renewal comes to mind; 'Fresh wind for our sails' if we take the tagline from last year's Home Mission Sunday. In a sense, the Holy Father is inviting Catholics to take their faith and encounter with Christ to another level - to deepen and develop it. Baptism and Confirmation set us on the path but it's a long journey with downs as well as ups, doubts and challenges as well as revelation and joy. One thing's certain - Christ is the lifelong companion Pope Benedict refers to and this is a 12-month opportunity to get closer to Him.
Three months after the announcement and a full nine months before the Year of Faith itself, what is the Church doing to encourage the faithful and help us prepare? In Rome, on 6 January, Cardinal William Levada, President of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released a number of pastoral recommendations for the Year of Faith.
The guidance advocates meetings and gatherings, promotes pilgrimages to the Holy Land, encourages a deeper devotion to Mary and asks Catholics to engage closely with the teachings, homilies and addresses of the Holy Father. More specifically, the Congregation provides dioceses and parishes with ideas to get the most out of what is sure to be a grace-filled Year.
Cardinal Levada also notes that World Youth Day, in Rio de Janeiro, falls during the year - July 2013 - and will offer the opportunity for young Catholic pilgrims "to experience the joy which comes from faith in the Lord Jesus and communion with the Holy Father, in the greater family of the Church".
Motu Proprio - Porta Fidei
His Holiness has issued an Apostolic Letter initiating the Year which states: "We want this Year to arouse in every believer the aspiration to profess the faith in fullness and with renewed conviction, with confidence and hope."
Downloads Motu Proprio: Porta Fidei 412.08 kB
Did you know?
The first Motu Proprio was issued by Pope Innocent VIII in 1484*.
*The Catholic Encycopedia - New Advent
Prayer for the Year of Faith
Motu Proprio: Porta Fidei
Plenary Indulgence granted for Year of Faith
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
Homily on opening the door of faith - Cardinal Piacenza
Pope Announces "year of faith"
Official Year of Faith website of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization