Q. What is the Year of Faith? — McCain Morrison, St. Paul the Apostle School, Davenport
A: McCain, your question is so important for the Davenport Diocese. So here is Part 2, and I hope it will help all of us be better prepared for this great opportunity to grow in our faith.
The Year of Faith begins in October with a Synod on New Evangelization. So what is a synod? A synod is a gathering of bishops, selected from different areas of the world, who meet with the pope to discuss questions pertaining to the activity of the Church in the world. This meeting helps to foster a closer unity between the bishops and the pope, and provides counsel to him. Pope Benedict XVI has situated the Synod on the New Evangelization (Oct. 7-28) at the beginning of the Year of Faith (Oct. 11).
Why are Year of Faith and New Evangelization linked? The New Evangelization is a call to:
• each Catholic to deepen his or her own faith, have confidence in the Gospel,
• and possess a willingness to share the Gospel.
The New Evangelization is first and foremost a personal encounter with Jesus Christ; it is an invitation to deepen one’s relationship with Christ. It is also a call to each person to share his or her faith with others. The Year of Faith, just like the New Evangelization, calls Catholics to conversion or adaptation of our lives in order to deepen our relationship with Christ and to share it with others.
How can we help celebrate the Year of Faith?
Memorize and/or study the Nicene Creed. We recite the Nicene Creed at Mass every Sunday. Memorizing its 224 words should come easily to us. Ask questions and have discussion about the creed in class.
Take time for daily prayer. The Year of Faith presents us with an opportunity to renew our commitment to daily prayer. Opening our heart to God in prayer paves the way for deeper faith and conversion and to have a more compassionate heart. October and May would be a great time to say the family rosary as a devotion and a great way to meditate on the life and actions of Christ and his Mother.
Worship wholeheartedly at Mass. Approach Mass with increased faith by participating fully in the prayers and hymns. See if your class can help plan and participate in a liturgy.
Study the teachings of the Church. Our faith magnifies as we respond to the Word of God. During this year we are called to immerse ourselves in the Gospels, as well as the Vatican II documents and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Have your teacher call us at (563) 324-1911 for some resources that can help with presentations in class or groups of classes.
Serve the poor and marginalized. We put our faith into action by caring for our neighbors in need. In addition to giving money, we should look for ways to make serving others more of a part of our daily lives and that of our families.
What are some key resources for the Year of Faith? Catholics wishing to deepen their faith during the Year of Faith should begin by exploring the Evangelization and Catechesis section of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (www.usccb.org) website. Numerous catechetical resources, prayers and other resources have been prepared for the Year of Faith and the New Evangelization that can be viewed and downloaded for free. Catholics should also consider studying the Documents of Vatican II and the Catechism. Another resource is the “United States Catholic Catechism for Adults,” which takes the teachings of the Catechism and shares them within a uniquely American context and highlights American Catholic saints and role models. You can also talk to your pastors, teacher and catechists to learn about what activities and opportunities are taking place within your communities. Most importantly, Catholics seeking to deepen their faith should pray daily, study Scripture and celebrate weekly Sunday Mass.
— Mary Wieser, director of Faith Formation for the Diocese of Davenport
(Students in grades kindergarten through 12 are invited to submit questions about the Catholic Church for The Catholic Messenger’s new Young & Curious feature. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or The Catholic Messenger, 780 W. Central Park Ave., Davenport, Iowa, 52804.)
Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus. Sherry A. Weddell, (Our Sunday Visitor, 2012).
Lectio Divina Bible Study: The Creed in Scripture. Stephen J. Binz, (Our Sunday Visitor, 2012).
Opening the Door of Faith: A Study Guide for Catechists and the New Evangelization. Jem Sullivan, Ph.D., (Our Sunday Visitor, 2012).
United States Catholic Catechism for Adults. U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, (USCCB Publishing, 2006).
The Year of Faith: A Bible Study for Catholics. Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J., (Our Sunday Visitor, 2012).
Year of Faith: Oct. 11, 2012-Nov. 24, 2013, USSCB. http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/new-evangelization/year-of-faith/
Conciliaria — Day-to-day coverage of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) uses archival reporting from that time, contemporary documents and special guest correspondents to celebrate the Council’s 50th anniversary. Go to the Conciliaria website. http://conciliaria.com/
RomeReports — Short video on the Year of Faith. RomeReports is a private and independent international TV news agency based in Rome, Italy, which specializes in covering the pope and the Vatican. http://www.romereports.com/palio/porta-fidei-the-popes-letter-on-the-year-of-faith-english-5172.html
Truth & Life — Free edition of the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition New Testament and audio of the Gospel of Mark with Blair Underwood as Mark. Includes Vatican Imprimatur and a foreword by Pope Benedict XVI. Available as CD and App for Android, iPad/iPhone, PC, Kindle Fire, Nook. Additional dramatized audio versions of New Testament books available as downloads for a fee. Truth & Life website, http://www.truthandlifeapp.com/.