Year of Faith
11th October 2012 – 24th November 2013
Background to the Year of Faith
At certain times in the history of the Church, Popes have called upon the faithful to dedicate themselves to deepening their understanding of a particular aspect of the faith. In 1967, Pope Paul VI announced a Year of Faith commemorating the martyrdom of Sts. Peter and Paul. The 1967 Year of Faith called upon the Church to recall the supreme act of witness by these two saints so that their martyrdom might inspire the present day Church to make a sincere profession of faith collectively and individually.
The upcoming Year of Faith declared by Pope Benedict XVI is a “summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the One Saviour of the world” (Porta Fidei 6). In other words, the Year of Faith is an opportunity for Catholics to experience a conversion – to turn back to Jesus and enter into a deeper relationship with him. The Pope has described this conversion as opening the “door of faith” (see Acts 14:27). The “door of faith” is opened at one’s baptism, but during this year Catholics are called to open it again, walk through it and rediscover and renew their relationship with Christ and his Church.
In his Apostolic Letter ‘Porta Fidei’, Pope Benedict XVI declared that the Year of Faith will begin on 11th October 2012 and conclude on 24th November 2013. The first day of the Year of Faith is the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) and also the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. During the Year of Faith, Catholics are asked to study and reflect on the documents of Vatican II which have had a huge influence on our thinking, our worship and our relationships with others. We are also asked to use the Catechism, of the Catholic Church which the Pope has described as “a precious and indispensable tool” in our renewed efforts to deepen our knowledge of the faith.
What will happen in this Year of Faith?
There will be various special events and liturgies in Rome, notably a Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelisation in October 2012. At a national level, the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland will celebrate Masses to mark the year’s opening and closing. It is anticipated that other events will be organised at diocesan and parish level to deepen knowledge of the faith and encourage use of the Catechism. News of events and of new resources will be provided locally and on various websites, most significantly www.annusfidei.va which provides links to a range of documents and resources.
What will schools do?
Scotland’s Catholic schools are well served by recent developments which have highlighted the importance of building the faith of children and young people on a solid foundation in Church teaching. To this end, the Bishops are looking for teachers to make effective use of THIS IS OUR FAITH to shape all programmes of religious education which will deliver faithful and accurate teaching, guided by the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Just so, every school should make use of SHINING THE LIGHT OF CHRIST IN THE CATHOLIC SCHOOL as the main means of evaluating their practice and planning for improvement, thus ensuring that the light of the Gospel is the “driving force” behind all the school’s activities.
Some ideas for school activities in the Year of Faith:
- Plan Staff CPD on activities related to teaching Faith: eg., using the ‘Strands of Faith’, as set out in section 2 of ‘This Is Our Faith’
- Audit the staff library to provide sufficient copies of the Catechism and Vatican II documents
- Highlight aspects of the Creed in school Assemblies, with a focus on different sections
- Create a Year of Faith display, linked to the Liturgical Calendar wallchart, showing photographs, relevant scripture, Catechism excerpts, lives of the Saints etc.
- Create opportunities for pupils to participate in prayer and to lead others in prayer
- With Parent Council, plan events where pupils teach aspects of faith (learned in religious education) to adults
- Highlight feastdays which celebrate the lives of the Saints, encourage pupils to research their stories and to re-tell these to others
- Review school website to consider how prominent the school’s faith mission appears
- Review the school’s pastoral plan to ensure that all classes / stages are given appropriate opportunities for retreats / pilgrimages /time for spiritual development