It has been exciting to see Pope Benedict vision in his pontificate. In the first year of His pontificate he came out with an encyclical letter on Charity. His next encyclical letter two year later was on Hope. And now in 2012 He is not merely writing on Faith but he is proclaiming a year of Faith for the Universal Church to celebrate. I really like some of the ideas Pope Benedict has recommended as well as the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. Here are some things that stuck out to me and that our parish might be able to focus on:
1) The New Evangelization (finding fresh ways with new ardor to bring the Gospel message to our parishioners)
2) An emphasis on “witness of life” (this is always key in Religious Education classes as well as the whole parish)
3) Coordinating different kinds of pilgrimages (maybe one to Jerusalem and/or maybe to a local shrine or cathedral)
4) Devotion to Mary (encouraging families to pray together more is one important focus that could be encouraged)
5) Maybe an opening event on Thursday October 11th to commemorate the “Year of Faith”.
6) Study of the Second Vatican documents and Catechism (adult faith offerings)
7) The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith speaks of attention being given to homilies, catechesis, addresses and other speeches and documents of the Holy Father. (This might be a good small group study)
8) Evangelization and outreach to those who have fallen away from the practice of the faith.
9) Also not directly mentioned but an emphasis on hospitality at the parish level. How do people feel when they come into our doors – do they feel welcome and cared about or are they just another number?
These are a number of ideas that come to my mind and that I will be writing about as we approach the year of faith. What is your diocese or parish planning on doing for the upcoming year? May the Holy Spirit lead Her Church to “rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ”(from Pope Benedict’s Porta Fidei on the Year of Faith).