Year of Faith opens in Denver and worldwide
By Jean Torkelson
Photo by James Baca/DCR
Catholics in northern Colorado officially became pilgrims Thursday evening as the Archdiocese of Denver joined the Church worldwide to open the Year of Faith, proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI as the time to take the faith “into the deserts of today’s world.”
Archbishop Samuel Aquila, accompanied by a processional of more than 50 clergy, celebrated Mass for about 650 worshippers at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Denver. He called on Christians to reject the “temptations of pessimism,” and noted that each person has a role to play in the evangelization of a problem-plagued world.
“Jesus has sent each and every one of us into the world today at this point in history,” he said. “Every one of us here has been willed by the Father to live in these times, and we have been given the challenge by the Holy Father to proclaim Christ … and the teachings of the Church.”
Using Pope Benedict XVI’s image of desert pilgrims, the archbishop also had a special announcement to make—the granting of a plenary indulgence for “pilgrims in the Archdiocese of Denver; those who visit and pray at a pilgrimage site—pray the Our Father and the Creed of our faith, and ask for the prayers of the Blessed Virgin and the site's patron.”
The archbishop read the list of eight sites, located throughout the archdiocese, where the faithful may obtain the indulgence. (For a list of the sites, see the accompanying box.)
Read the entire catechism in the Year of Faith
Archbishop Aquila also challenged the faithful, urging them to set aside time each day during the Year of Faith to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church. He directed the faithful to the archdiocese’s website, archden.org, for an outline on how to read the entire catechism during the Year of Faith.
“It is very simply reading seven paragraphs a day out of the catechism,” he said. “I encourage you to do that to renew your faith in Christ and in the Church. And may our hearts truly burn throughout this year.”
In his homily prior to the announcement, the archbishop had quoted the Holy Father as referring to the heart “as the most sacred place within the human person.” Archbishop Aquila urged all Catholics to open their hearts for an encounter with Christ and to “abandon ourselves to Christ, each and every day.”
He also dedicated a good deal of his homily to how Catholics, in the Year of Faith, should respond to the state of the world—“a world and times that are deeply challenged.”
He noted that the pope has said the world situation has only grown worse since the opening of the Second Vatican Council, exactly 50 years earlier, on Oct. 11, 1962.
“Instead of the Gospel being brought into the world more fully as the council desired, “ Archbishop Aquila said, “the world has become only more void and more empty. In (the pope’s) words, ‘the void has spread.’”
How to Earn the Year of Faith Indulgence
Catholics who visit Year of Faith pilgrimage sites, or attend Year of Faith events can receive a special indulgence, a remission of the temporal punishment due for sins that have been forgiven. The conditions for the plenary indulgence are the typical requirements for all indulgences: that the person goes to confession, receives the Eucharist and prays for the intentions of the pope. The homebound may also earn the indulgence and it may be granted on behalf of the departed. To earn the indulgence, one must: participate in a liturgy or in prayer or pious meditations, concluding with the recitation of the Our Father, the Creed, and offer invocations to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, 1530 Logan St., Denver
Our Lady of Loreto, 18000 E. Arapahoe Road, Foxfield
St. Francis of Assisi, 3791 Pike Road, Longmont
St. Helena, 917 W. Seventh Ave., Fort Morgan
Spirit of Christ, 7400 W. 80th Ave., Arvada
St. Michael, 678 School St., Craig
Our Lady of Peace, 89 Smith Ranch Road, Silverthorne
Mother Cabrini Shrine, 20189 Cabrini Blvd., Golden
Two great temptations
“We can see that in our own country and our own society,” the archbishop continued, and he identified “two great temptations of pessimism” that are active in the world.
One temptation, common to believers, is exemplified by the response, “I believe, but I don’t want to impose my faith on others.” Another variation is the notion that “the world is going to hell in a hand-basket, so hunker down” and just get by.
He said the other “great temptation” is the pessimism of atheism, “a total lack of belief in God,” which creates societies, from ancient times to 20th-century Nazism and communism, which are destined to fail.
In either case, the archbishop said, pessimists “do not have hope for the world and do not believe Jesus is the hope and answer to every human problem.”
He recounted a recent conversation with someone who said, “Archbishop, you know as well as I do that one day our society and our government will fall; let’s hope it’s not in our lifetime.”
“I was stunned,” the archbishop said. “What does that say about our children and about our faith? It points to a void that is there.”
Instead, the true Christian response is to take the faith into the world with enthusiasm, as pilgrims on a Year of Faith.
“Proclaim boldly that Jesus is Lord,” the archbishop urged. “Only in that proclamation, and by inviting others to come to know the joy in believing and encountering Jesus, is the only true happiness and hope for the world.”
Jean Torkelson: 303-715-3122; www.twitter.com/DCRegister