It is common to hear people, both young and not-so-young, talk about the need to make a ‘leap of faith’ in order to face many of life’s trials. But not all leaps of faith are a blind jump into the dark. More often than not, a leap means growing more steadfast in this virtue, acquiring a deeper significance and leaving enduring fruits.
In the Acts of the Apostles, we learn that God opened the door of faith for the early Church. But did you know that God has opened the door of faith for each one us and he invites us to step through the threshold into a deeper relationship with him? The upcoming Year of Faith is an opportunity for every Catholic to turn towards Jesus Christ, encounter him in the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, and rediscover the Faith and Church.
With his Apostolic Letter of October 11, 2011, Porta Fidei…, Pope Benedict XVI declared that a “Year of Faith” will begin on October 11, 2012, and conclude on November 24, 2013. October 11, 2012, the first day of the Year of Faith, is the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, or Vatican II. During the Year of Faith, Catholics are asked to study and reflect on the documents of Vatican II so that they may deepen their knowledge of the faith
Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (“door of faith”),which literally opens for us a Year of Faith, gives us a wonderful opportunity to once again make a leap of quality in our faith.
To help us better embrace this invitation of Benedict XVI that we may rediscover anew the personal and ecclesial features of our faith and become living witnesses for the entire world, we offer these six points about the Year of Faith:
- What is the Year of Faith? The Year of Faith “is a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one ‘Saviour of the world.’” (Porta Fidei, no. 6)
- When does it start? It begins on October 11, 2012 and ends on November 24, 2013.
- Why these dates? The 11th of October coincides with two anniversaries: the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the anniversary of the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The closing, the 24th of November, is the solemnity of Christ the King.
- Why has the Pope convoked it this year? The main objective of this year is that each Christian “rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ.” (ibid., no. 2)
- What means has the Holy Father suggested? In Porta Fidei he writes: to intensify the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist; to give witness of one’s own faith; and rediscover the contents of one’s faith.
- Where will it take place? As the Pope says, it will have a universal reach. “We will have the opportunity to profess our faith in the Risen Lord in our cathedrals and in the churches of the whole world; in our homes and among our families, so that everyone may feel a strong need to know better and to transmit to future generations the faith of all times. Religious communities as well as parish communities, and all ecclesial bodies old and new, are to find a way, during this Year, to make a public profession of the Credo.” (Ibid., no. 8)
The following video was part of the Vatican II: Teaching and Understanding the Council After 50 years conference held 9/20-22/12 at the University of St. Thomas. “Vatican II: Its Aims and Trajectories” — Rev. John O’Malley, S.J., Ph.D., University Professor, Georgetown University, is the author of several books on modern Catholicism, including What Happened at Vatican II. Fr. O’Malley lectures widely to professional and general audiences throughout North America and Europe. He is a renowned historian of the religious culture of early modern Europe and has received a number of accolades for his work, including best-book prizes, fellowships, and honorary degrees.