Pope Benedict XVI is giving us Catholics a great opportunity this year to make a big difference. Oct. 11 marked the beginning of the “Year of Faith” which, according to Vatican statements, is designed to help Catholics around the world deepen their relationship with God, better appreciate the gift of their Catholic faith, and strengthen their commitment to sharing the Catholic faith with others.
The “Year of Faith” extends from Oct. 11, 2012 until Nov. 24, 2013. It began on Oct. 11 because this date marks the 50th anniversary of the commencement of Vatican Council II and the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This year all Catholics are encouraged to study these documents with the intention of deepening their relationship with Jesus Christ.
The Second Vatican Council also talked about the universal call to holiness. By participating in the Year of Faith, Catholics are fulfilling their call by Christ to live a holy and authentic life of discipleship.
In essence, this year, we are called to more fully live a stewardship way of life.
This Year of Faith goes hand-in-hand with living as a steward. As stewards, we must trust God completely. We must believe that God is totally in charge of our lives. However, before we trust God completely, we must have faith in Him. Once we have faith and we believe in God we actually want to follow God. We are eager to follow Him.
And, when we choose to trust and follow Christ we can begin to live out our faith. After all, it’s important to have faith, but as stewards, we are called to put that faith into action. Sharing of our gifts of time, talent, and treasure give us the opportunity to do just that.
So, how can you get your parishioners to more fully embrace their call to discipleship during The Year of Faith?
- Invite parishioners to learn more about their faith, to dig deeper into the rich resources they have at their fingertips: the Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the Bishop’s Pastoral Letter on Stewardship
- Encourage parishioners to form prayer groups or bible studies to grow in their faith together and to encourage one another in their stewardship journey
- Attend daily Mass, go to Adoration, spend daily quiet time in prayer
These simple steps can allow parishioners to grow in their faith and set them on fire to practice their faith in order to help them to reach their ultimate destination – Heaven.
Personally, I hope to find grace and clarity during The Year of Faith. I want to remind myself of how deeply important our Catholic faith is how that faith continues to draw me closer to God.
I pray it does the same for each of you.