FORT WAYNE — “The Year of Faith is a great opportunity for all of us to grow in our relationship with God and to rediscover the truth, beauty and power of the Catholic faith.” These words from Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades sum up the much-anticipated time of spiritual renewal this year.
The Year of Faith begins on Thursday, Oct. 11, and ends on Nov. 24, 2013. The opening date coincides with the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, and the ending date celebrates the feast of Christ the King.
The Year of Faith is an initiative promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI, and observed by the faithful worldwide. In Pope Benedict XVI’s beautiful Apostolic letter “Porta Fidei” published in 2011, he states “The ‘door of faith’ is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into His Church. It is possible to cross that threshold when the word of God is proclaimed and the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace.”
Many faith-building observances and initiatives are planned throughout the year, not only on a worldwide scale, but also at the diocesan and parish level.
A keen aspect of many initiatives include a heavy emphasis on the New Evangelization and using social media as a means of deepening and growing the faith of Catholics everywhere. The Vatican has created a special website dedicated to following the pope throughout the Year of Faith, which also includes some key resource materials designed to increase knowledge of the faith. Visit www.annusfidei.va/content/novaevangelizatio/en.html.
Closer to home, the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend has fully embraced the initiatives set forth by the Holy Father, and Bishop Rhoades, including:
The Opening and Closing Masses
The Year of Faith begins locally with the opening Mass, which will be held on Thursday, Oct. 11, at 5:30 p.m. The Mass will be celebrated in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne and all are welcome.
The Year of Faith concludes with a Mass celebrating the feast of Christ the King on Nov. 24, 2013. The Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Rhoades and take place in St. Matthew Cathedral in South Bend.
Bishop Rhoades has commissioned the manufacture of prayer cards for every family in the diocese that wishes to have one. The prayer cards contain the Apostle’s Creed, and other faith devotions designed to be used every day, and recited either as a family or individually. The beautiful prayer card is laminated, easily portable and lends itself to daily use.
One of the most exciting faith-building initiatives put forth by the diocese is an app, available for iPhone and Android mobile device users. This app, which goes live Oct. 11, is titled “My Year of Faith” and can be a daily resource for users, and is customizable for each individual. It includes many features that lead users to a deeper understanding of their faith, an increased prayer life, and reflections and thoughts from nationally known bloggers and writers — all with daily content updates. The list of contributors is a “who’s who in Catholic social media” including Lisa Hendey, Brandon Vogt, Father Leo Patalinghug, to name but a few, and other popular Catholic authors and speakers like Dr. Greg Popack, as well as local voices, like Bishop Rhoades. The diocese anticipates this locally-produced app to gain national favor and recognition. The app will be available at the iPhone App Store. Links to the app as well as the My Year of Faith website can be found at the diocesan website www.diocesefwsb.org or access the site directly at www.myyearoffaith.com. Those who do not have smartphones can follow the blog at www.myyearoffaith.com.
The summer of 2013 brings with it an exciting adventure. A pilgrimage for youth and young adults is in the works. The pilgrimage will include a tour of North American shrines and holy sites in the U.S. and Canada. The tour includes stops in upstate New York, Montreal, Ontario and Michigan, and will also include a stop at Niagara Falls. More information regarding the pilgrimage can be found at www.myyearoffaith.com.
A well-timed faith-building program is currently underway at many parishes. The ARISE program sponsored by the diocese and Renew International is a program that builds upon the small Christian community model, and works to increase open dialogue and faith sharing in the intimate confines of participants homes, or select gathering spaces. While this program is sponsored by the diocese, it is led by the parish pastor and lay leaders. More information regarding the Arise program can be obtained by contacting local parish leadership.
These are but a few of the initiatives and programs set forth by the Church to aid everyone along their journey to a deeper faith. The USCCB has also placed other easily accessible resources on their website at www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/new-evangelization/year-of-faith/. These resources include the catechism in digital format, as well as many homilies and articles submitted throughout the year.
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