Today is the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, and also the beginning of the Year of Faith for the whole Church.
Through this year, we are invited “to enter more deeply into the spiritual movement which characterised Vatican II, to make it ours and to develop it according to its true meaning. And its true meaning was and remains faith in Christ, the apostolic faith, animated by the inner desire to communicate Christ to individuals and all people, in the Church’s pilgrimage along the pathways of history” (Pope Benedict XVI, Mass in Saint Peter’s Square, 11 October 2012).
The Holy Father also recalled that “11 October 1962 was the Feast of Mary Most Holy, Mother of God.” He added, “Let us entrust to her the Year of Faith, as I did last week when I went on pilgrimage to Loreto. May the Virgin Mary always shine out as a star along the way of the new evangelisation” (ibid.).
Those in Ottawa are reminded of the Prayer Service tonight in Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica and 7.30pm to mark the beginning of the Year of Faith.
Pope Benedict XVI, Vespers at Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, 2 February 2012. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
“As we know, in vast areas of the world the faith is in danger of being extinguished, like a flame that has lost its fuel. We are facing a profound crisis of faith, a loss of the religious sense, that constitutes the Church’s greatest challenge today. The renewal of faith, then, must be the priority in the work of the whole Church in our time. It is my wish that the Year of Faith contribute, with the cordial collaboration of all of the People of God, to making God present again in this world and to opening to men the way to faith, to entrusting themselves to that God who loved us to the end (cf. John 13:1), in Jesus Christ crucified and risen.”
— Pope Benedict XVI, address to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 27 January 2012.
Source: ZENIT: Pope’s Address to Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
The meeting with Christ as a living person who satiates the thirst of the heart cannot but lead to the desire to share with others the joy of this presence and to make it known so that all can experience it. It is necessary to renew the enthusiasm to communicate the faith so as to promote a New Evangelization of the communities and countries of ancient Christian tradition, which are losing their connection with God, in order to rediscover the joy of believing. The concern to evangelize must never be left on the margin of ecclesial activity and of the personal life of the Christian, but it must be strongly characterized, by the awareness of being recipients and, at the same time, missionaries of the Gospel.
[…] In this plan of love realized by Christ, faith in God is above all a gift and mystery to be received in the heart and in life and for which to be always grateful to the Lord. But faith is a gift that is given to us to be shared; it is a talent received so that it will bear fruit; it is a light that must not be kept hidden, but illumine the whole house. It is the most important gift that has been given to us in our lives and we cannot keep it for ourselves.
— Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Mission Day 2012
Source: ZENIT: Pope’s Message for World Mission Day
(AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)
The mandate to preach the Gospel is not exhausted, therefore, by a Pastor in caring for that portion of the People of God entrusted to his pastoral care, or in the sending of a fidei donum priest, layman or laywoman. It should involve the whole activity of the particular Church, all her sectors, in short, all her being and action. Vatican II indicated this clearly and the successive Magisterium confirmed it forcefully. This requires the constant adaptation of lifestyles, pastoral plans and diocesan organization to this fundamental dimension of being Church, especially in our world in constant change. And this is also true for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life, as well as for the Ecclesial Movements: all the components of the great mosaic of the Church must feel strongly drawn in by the Lord’s mandate to preach the Gospel, so that Christ is proclaimed everywhere. We, Pastors, men and women religious and all the faithful in Christ, must follow in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul, who, “a prisoner for Christ on behalf of you Gentiles” (Ephesians 3:1), worked, suffered and fought to have the Gospel reach the Gentiles (cf. Ephesians 1:24-29), not sparing energy, time and means to make Christ’s Message known.
— Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Mission Day 2012
Source: ZENIT: Pope’s Message for World Mission Day.
I was always impressed with a parish in Melbourne that had secured space in a large shopping mall and created a chapel where Mass was offered. I’m not sure if it’s still happening as I can’t find any reference online (perhaps if you know you might leave a comment below). It always struck me as the modern equivalent of the church being there in the village square, where everyone is.
I would love to do something similar when the opportunity arises. Wouldn’t it be great to have a shopfront where people from the parish could be in attendance to answer questions and provide information; where Catholic literature could be available; and ultimately where links could be made with people – including many Catholics – who would rarely, if ever, cross the threshold of the parish property proper.
I was interested, therefore to see this article: Italian bishops propose evangelizing in shopping malls. This would be a great initiative to foster as we consider the new evangelization.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has released a Note with pastoral recommendations for the Year of Faith, which “will begin on 11 October 2012, on the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council, and will conclude on 24 November 2013, the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King.”
The Year of Faith was announced by Pope Benedict XVI in his apostolic letter, “Porta Fidei.” (Click the photo to the right to read the text of the letter).
Read the CDF’s Note here.
“[T]he techniques needed to bring Christ to a people that has never heard of him (something the Church has been doing since Pentecost) are one thing; the techniques needed to bring him to a new generation within a basically Christianized culture (something the Church does with every new generation) are something else. But the techniques needed to bring Christ to a people or culture that thinks it has already tried Christ and thinks Him a failure (or worse, thinks Him a cover for indifference to suffering, exploitation of the innocent, impotence to affect human lives, various forms of rapaciousness in the name of divine destiny, and so on), those techniques are something else yet again. And it is this third situation, one wherein the Church faces not so much a non-Christian culture but a de-Christianized one, which confronts the Church in the Western world today. It is this situation, never before faced by the Church—certainly not on a large scale—that I suggest underlies most of the startling summons to a New Evangelization.”
— Edward N. Peters, “An Introduction to the Canonical Achievements of Pope John Paul II,” in Ave Maria Law Review, 6 (2007), p. 26. See here.
The former director of the ZENIT news service is now involved in a new project: Aleteia – Seekers of the Truth.
The information about Aleteia on its site states the following about itself:
ALETEIA is the first multi-lingual online community that offers Questions and Answers about the Catholic faith, life and society.
Here you can find answers to the most pressing questions on current events, the Pope, prayer, science, history, etc…
Aleteia is a Rome-based private initiative of lay Catholics who wish to answer Benedict XVI’s appeal to spread the Gospel through new media. To this end, Aleteia cooperates closely with the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.
One of the features of the site is video answers to questions, which is sure to appeal to many. The question of the day today is: How did John Paul II pray?
This site is only new, so it’ll be interesting to see how it grows and develops, but it seems like one definitely worth bookmarking.