Pope’s ‘Year of Faith’ launches Oct. 11
By Jean Torkelson
Photo by CNS photo/Giampiero Sposito, Reuters
The Archdiocese of Denver joins the Church worldwide on Oct. 11 to launch the Year of Faith, proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI as a time to rediscover one’s faith and then take it into the world “in fullness and renewed conviction.”
Pope Benedict chose the date to coincide with two of the most significant anniversaries in modern Church history—the opening of the Second Vatican Council in 1962 and the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in 1992. He urged Catholics to make these two historic milestones the teaching guides for their own personal Year of Faith journey.
The date Oct. 11 is also significant as that was the day in 431 A.D. when the Council of Ephesus proclaimed Mary Theotokos, “God-bearer” or “Mother of God.” Since then, throughout the centuries, Oct. 11 has held special Marian significance.
In honor of the yearlong observance, Archbishop Samuel Aquila will be the main celebrant at a special Mass of the New Evangelization 5:30 p.m. Oct. 11 at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. All are welcome.
Other upcoming events
The archbishop’s Mass is among the first of many liturgies, events and forums which are expected to be held in parishes, schools, theology and education centers, as well as the John Paul II Center, throughout the year.
“Most initiatives, as we envision it, will be grass roots and emerge from the parishes,” said James Cavanagh, director of the archdiocese’s Office of Evangelization and Catechesis. “I’m gratified that already there are parishes that have things planned.” (For information on finding resources, see box on Page 2.)
Pastoral recommendations from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Statement from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
Documents of the Second Vatican Council
U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults (USCCB)
Oct. 10: 7 p.m. - Regis Martin, “Vatican II & the Year of Faith”
Oct. 13: 8 a.m. (Mass) to 3 p.m. - “Symposium on the Catechism”
Oct. 27: 9 a.m.- 3:30 p.m. - Louie Verrechio, “Harvesting the Fruit of Vatican II”
Spirit of Christ Parish, 7400 W. 80th Ave., Arvada
Oct. 24: 7 p.m. - Msgr. Robert Amundsen will speak about being in priestly formation during Vatican II years
“Introduction to the Catechism” by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and Christoph Schonborn
On Oct. 10, the archdiocese will host a 7 p.m. lecture by Regis Martin, author and professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He will speak about the importance of Vatican II in the life of the Church.
On Oct 13, the archdiocese will host a daylong symposium on the catechism, hosted by Cavanagh and Sean Innerst, director of the theology cycle at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary and Ben Akers, director of the Catholic Biblical School and Catchetical School.
Rediscovery of faith
The Year of Faith is being regarded by many as a way for Catholics to strengthen their own witness so they can respond more effectively to an increasingly hardened secular society.
“The idea is, we as Catholics take for granted that we live in a Christian culture and that culture reinforces Gospel values—but it doesn’t,” Cavanagh said. “So, first and foremost for us as Catholics, the Year of Faith is meant as a way to rediscover the beauty of the Catholic faith. The Holy Father’s idea is that this is the time to evangelize ourselves and renew our friendship with the Lord, with the view toward evangelizing the culture and infusing it once again with Gospel values.”
The two historic events linked to the special year—Vatican II and the catechism—each play a critical role in the faith life of the Church, the pontiff explained in his apostolic letter, “Porta Fidei,” (“The Door of Faith”), which was written in 2011 to announce the upcoming Year of Faith.
Vatican II was the worldwide council called by Pope John XXIII to prepare the Church to take on the difficulties and demands of the modern world. However, misinterpretations of the documents inadvertently led to a long period of rebellion and uncertainty in the Church, which Pope Benedict XVI referred to in “Porta Fidei” as “the grave difficulties of the time.”
Now, 50 years later, it’s time to set the record straight about Vatican II, the pope said, adding that the Year of Faith “would provide a good opportunity to help people understand the texts … they need to be read correctly to be widely known and taken to heart.”
‘A wealth of teaching’
Likewise, Pope Benedict XVI called the catechism “a precious and indispensible tool,” and “a wealth of teaching that the Church has received, safeguarded and proposed in her 2,000 years of history.”
He noted that the catechism fills many roles—it provides a “permanent record” of the faith and addresses all the “great themes of daily life.” It also reveals Jesus Christ as a living reality: “On page after page, we find that what is presented here is no theory, but an encounter with a Person who lives within the Church.”
The first Year of Faith was proclaimed in 1967 by Pope Paul VI to commemorate the martyrdoms of Saints Peter and Paul and was meant to be a “solemn moment for the whole Church” to reappropriate "exact knowledge of the faith, so as to reinvigorate it, purify it, confirm it and confess it.”
Jean Torkelson: 303-715-3122; www.twitter.com/DCRegister