Father Francis Ongkingco
IT is common to hear people, both young and not-so-young, talk about the need to make a ‘leap of faith’ in order to face many of life’s trials. But not all leaps of faith are a blind jump into the dark. More often than not, a leap means growing more steadfast in this virtue, acquiring a deeper significance and leaving enduring fruits.
Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (“door of faith”), which literally opens for us a Year of Faith, gives us a wonderful opportunity to once again make a leap of quality in our faith.
Below are nine concrete points which I have translated from Almudi (http://www.almudi.org). They will surely help us better embrace this invitation of Benedict XVI, so we may rediscover anew the personal and ecclesial features of our faith and become living witnesses for the entire world.
1. What is the Year of Faith? The Year of Faith “is a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one ‘Saviour of the world.’” (Porta Fidei, no. 6)
2. When does it start and end? It begins on October 11, 2012 and ends on November 24, 2013.
3. Why these dates? The 11th of October coincides with two anniversaries: the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the anniversary of the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The closing, the 24th of November, is the solemnity of Christ the King.
4. Why has the Pope convoked it this year? “Whereas in the past it was possible to recognize a unitary cultural matrix, broadly accepted in its appeal to the content of the faith and the values inspired by it, today this no longer seems to be the case in large swathes of society, because of a profound crisis of faith that has affected many people.” (Ibid., #2) Thus, the Holy Father invites to an “authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one ‘Saviour of the world.’” The main objective of this year is that each Christian “rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ.” (ibid., no. 2)
5. What means has the Holy Father suggested? In Porta Fidei he writes: to intensify the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist; to give witness of one’s own faith; and rediscover the contents of one’s faith, mainly explained in the Catechism.
6. Where will it take place? As the Pope says, it will have a universal reach. “We will have the opportunity to profess our faith in the Risen Lord in our cathedrals and in the churches of the whole world; in our homes and among our families, so that everyone may feel a strong need to know better and to transmit to future generations the faith of all times. Religious communities as well as parish communities, and all ecclesial bodies old and new, are to find a way, during this Year, to make a public profession of the Credo.” (Ibid., no. 8)
7. Where will one find more precise guidelines? In a published note from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, some examples are:
• doing pilgrimages to St. Peters;
• organize pilgrimages, celebrations and gatherings in major sanctuaries;
• hold symposiums, congresses and gatherings that foster knowledge of the contents of the Catholic Church’s doctrine, and to have an open dialogue between faith and reason;
• read or re-read the main documents of the Second Vatican Council;
• focusing more on the homilies, catechesis, discourses and interventions of the Holy Father;
• promote programs about the faith in T.V. and radio, movies and publications, including the popular level which is accessible to a great audience;
• make the saints of every locality known as authentic witnesses of the faith;
• foster a greater appreciation for the legacy of religious art;
• prepare and spread materials with an apologetic theme in order to resolve doubts;
• organize catechetical events for the youth and transmit the beauty of the faith;
• to turn with greater faith and frequency to the sacrament of Penance;
• use the Compendium of the Catholic Church in schools;
• organize reading groups of the Catechism and to promote its diffusion and sale;
8. What documents can I read for now? Begin with the Pope’s motu proprio Porta Fidei and the guidelines suggested by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
9. When can I get more information about the Year of Faith? Check out the Vatican’s web page hosting this particular celebration: http://www.annusfidei.va/content/novaevangelizatio/en.html
With these nine points, we will have more than enough to make a real quality leap in our faith and also helping others to make this leap as well.
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