Porta Fidei (Apostolic letter by Pope Benedict XVI)
What is the Year of Faith?
When Pope Benedict announced the Year of Faith last year he described it as “a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the One Savior of the world” (Porta Fidei, 6). The Year of Faith begins on October 11, 2012, the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II and the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism. These important milestones present an ideal opportunity, the Pope said, to “usher the whole Church into a time of particular reflection and rediscovery of the faith.”
Why a Year of Faith?
In Europe and in many parts of America, faith is dying. Belief in the gospel and the values it inspired used to be an integral part of our culture, which families could rely on to transmit the faith. Not anymore. “This presupposition” Pope Benedict said, “can no longer be taken for granted, but is often openly denied” (Porta Fidei, 2). Even a basic belief in God is waning. The Year of Faith therefore is meant to help us 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 and by reaching out to others. The purpose of the Year of Faith is to encourage all of us, the Pope said, to “reappropriate exact knowledge of the faith, so as to reinvigorate it, purify it, confirm it, and confess it” (Porta Fidei, 4).
Who is the Year of Faith for?
The Year of Faith is for all of us - clergy, religious and laity alike. It’s an invitation to renew our faith and rekindle the fire of love for God and his Church. Every Catholic is called by virtue of his or her baptism to follow Christ and proclaim the Gospel. Faith, like love, only comes alive when it’s given away. But you cannot love what you do not know, and you can’t give away something you don’t have. “Faith grows,” Pope Benedict said, “when it is lived as an experience of love received and when it is communicated as an experience of grace and joy.”
How will the Year of Faith be celebrated?
In many ways! Archbishop Aquila will start the Year of Faith with a special Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception on Thursday, October 11 at 5:30 p.m. Then on Saturday, October 13 there will be a symposium on the Catechism at the John Paul II center. And on Saturday, October 27 there will be a workshop on Vatican II. Most things, however, will take place at the local level so consult your parish bulletin or ask your pastor about what your parish is planning to do for the Year of Faith. Click on “events/calendar” for a listing of things going on throughout the Archdiocese of Denver. Check back regularly since the page will be updated as events are added.
What can I do to make the most of the Year of Faith?
First of all, pray. Pray that your own faith may grow and bear fruit. If you’re not doing so already, set aside time to pray. The first hour of the day is usually the best time. As Catholics we are blessed with abundant resources to help us pray. Click on “resources” for some suggestions and prayers specifically chosen for the Year of Faith. Also, take advantage of the various classes, workshops, conferences and symposia that will be offered throughout the archdiocese during the Year. Get a copy of the Catechism, if you don’t already have one, and start reading it. A “Daily readings in the Catechism” is posted on the resources page.
And finally, the Holy See invites all the faithful to “read closely and meditate upon Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Letter, Porta Fidei.”