With much anticipation, but with seemingly little fanfare, tomorrow, October 11, 2012 will mark the beginning of the Year of Faith. Pope Benedict XVI declared the Year of Faith (Oct. 11, 2012 through Nov. 24, 2013) with his Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei a year ago. In his letter, Pope Benedict XVI calls on Catholics “To rediscover the content of the Faith that is professed, celebrated, lived and prayed, and to reflect on the act of faith, (as) a task that every believer must make his own, especially in the course of this Year.” (Porta Fideai, 9)
The Year of Faith was called to coincide with two important anniversaries in the Roman Catholic Church. Firstly, it is the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. Secondly, October 11, 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Two events that have left a profound impact on the shape of the Catholic Church as we know it today. With this in mind, in Porta Fidei Pope Benedict XVI challenges believers to get to know the documents of Vatican II and the Catechism better as “They need to be read correctly, to be widely known and taken to heart as important and normative texts of the Magisterium, within the Church’s Tradition…” (Porta Fidei, 5)
Throughout Porta Fidei, His Holiness calls on the Year of Faith to be a time of renewal, rediscovery and a strengthening of faith:
“The renewal of the Church is also achieved through the witness offered by the lives of believers: …” (Porta Fidei, 6)
“The Year of Faith, from this perspective, is a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Saviour of the World.” (Porta Fidei, 6)
“We want this Year to arouse in every believer the aspiration to profess the faith in fullness and with renewed conviction, with confidence and hope,.” (Porta Fidei, 9)
“The Year of Faith will also be a good opportunity to intensify the witness of charity.” (Porta Fidei, 14)
Like every New Year, this Year of Faith offers a sense of renewal and hope for the year to come. In much the same way as I approach the last week of December every year, I’d like to try to chart out a spiritual Plan of Faith for the Year of Faith ahead. A sort of list of Year of Faith Resolutions, if you will.
My Year of Faith Resolutions include:
Becoming a more Catholic teacher, making a conscious effort to include faithful teachings and doctrines in my history and geography classes;
Increasing my own knowledge and understanding of Catholic doctrines through personal reading, attending lectures and furthering my studies;
Getting to know the documents of Vatican II and the Catechism in greater depth;
Attending Eucharistic Adoration at least once a month;
Intensifying my prayer life;
Inviting others to deepen their understanding of our shared Catholic faith by offering them a safe environment to explore their faith journey.
I know this list seems pretty hefty, if not daunting at best, but there is an entire Year of Faith laid out before us. If I keep in mind that I don’t need to accomplish them by October 18th, then I think I can make it. Pray for me, and I know with the help of your prayers, I can. In the same way, I encourage you to share your own Year of Faith Resolutions, this way we can pray for each other as we rediscover, renew and strengthen our faith.