The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Year of Faith -- Update from Rome

I trust your home parish, like ours, is playing an active role in the celebration of the Year of Faith inaugurated four months ago by Pope Benedict XVI. The pope announced the Year of Faith on October 11, the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This year, if we live it wisely and well, offers us an opportunity, in Pope Benedict's words, to “usher the whole Church into a time of particular reflection and rediscovery of the faith.”

Pope Benedict believes this Year of Faith is necessary because of the radical changes that have taken place in our culture. No longer can belief in and acceptance of Gospel values be taken for granted. New kinds of atheism and agnosticism have become popular, especially in the post-industrial West where belief in God is mocked as passé and unenlightened. So much of this thinking stems not only from a lack of faith, but also from ignorance and misunderstanding of God's Word and the teachings of His Church.

The Church, therefore, calls us to rediscover the ‘power and beauty of the faith’ by reading the Documents of Vatican II and the Catechism, by studying the lives of the saints, by entering deeply into God's Word in Scripture, and by sharing our faith with others. We are all called by Jesus Christ to evangelize the world:

"Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” [Mt 28:19-20].
But we cannot obey this command if our own faith is weak or uninformed. As Pope Benedict said, we should all “reappropriate exact knowledge of the faith, so as to reinvigorate it, purify it, confirm it, and confess it.”

I've included below a brief video that provides an update on the Year of Faith as it is being celebrated at the Vatican. You can also access the Vatican's special website devoted to the Year of Faith.

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