Today starts the Year of Faith that was decreed by Pope Benedict XVI. It is a “summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the One Savior of the world” (Porta Fidei 6). As Catholics, we are asked to study and reflect on the documents of Vatican II and the Catechism so that they may deepen their knowledge of the faith.
Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin and chairman of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis of the USCCB has put out a list called “10 Way Catholics Can Live the Year of Faith.” Here’s the list, as well as some links to check out to start your year of faith journey.
1. Participate in Mass. The Year of Faith is meant to promote the personal encounter with Jesus.
2. Go to Confession. Catholics find strength and grow deeper in their faith through participation in the Sacrament of Penance.
Find a good examination of conscience. I really enjoy handing out LifeTeen’s to youth and young adults. (Also available as a PDF.)
3. Learn about the lives of the saints. The saints are timeless examples of how to live a Christian life.
There are lots of resources for this one. But I like the USCCB’s monthly calendar of American Saints, Venerables, and Blesseds. It’ll make a good year-long study.
4. Read the Bible daily. Scripture offers first-hand access to the Word of God.
Join a parish bible study, or start one. OSV has a Year of Faith Bible Study book that I’m going to check out as well.
5. Read the documents of Vatican II. The Second Vatican Council (1962-65) ushered in a great renewal of the church.
6. Study the Catechism. Published 20 years ago, it is a resource for growing in understanding of the faith. Another helpful resource is the U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults (USCCA).
It is available online at the Vatican Website.
FlockNote is also leading a campaign where a portion will be emailed out daily. Read the email everyday and by the end of the year, you’ll have read the whole Catechism!
7. Volunteer in the parish. The Year of Faith can’t only be about study and reflection.
In the Austin area, use the Diocese of Austin’s parish directory to find the contact information of your parish so you can contact them about various available ministry opportunities.
8. Help those in need. Catholics are urged to donate to charity and volunteer to help the poor during the Year of Faith.
9. Invite a friend to Mass. Everyone knows people like this, so everyone can extend a loving welcome.
Sorry, no link for this one. This is more of an offline kind of deal.
10. Incorporate the Beatitudes into daily life. The Beatitudes (Mt 5:3-12) provide a rich blueprint for Christian living.
As is this one. 🙂
Bonus: Earn a Plenary Indulgence
Last Friday, October 5th, Benedict announced that those who participate in the Year of Faith can earn a plenary indulgence for themselves or for others. The indulgence will be valid from the opening of the Year on October 11, 2012 until its end on November 24, 2013. While we receive partial indulgences all the time when we make the sign of the cross, receive a sacrament and more, a plenary indulgence removes all temporal punishment due to sin up to that point, so that no more time is needed in Purgatory for them. There are certain prescriptions (or criteria, per se) to earn the indulgence and you can read all about it at the USCCB announcement here.
This list is by no means exhaustive. So please, share what I may have missed in the comments below. How are you planning on living the year of faith?