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ATLANTA—The U.S. bishops’ promotion of the Year of Faith will include homily helps, a gathering of theology professors and even Facebook posts about the lives of the saints, according to a presentation to the bishops at their Spring General Assembly in Atlanta, June 13. The bishops’ efforts are a response to recommendations made by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on how bishops’ conferences can help dioceses in their observances of the Year of Faith.
“The central image of the Year of Faith is the ‘door of faith’ based on Acts of the Apostles,” said Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, in his presentation to the bishops. “The ‘door of faith’ is opened at one’s baptism, but during this year we are called to open it again, walk though it and rediscover and renew our relationship with Christ and his Church.”
Bishop Ricken’s presentation reflected the coordinated efforts of several USCCB committees, including Evangelization and Catechesis, Education, Doctrine, Communications, Divine Worship, Pro-Life Activities, Domestic Justice and Human Development and International Justice and Peace.
The Year of Faith is a celebration by the entire Catholic Church, running from October 11—the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church— to November 14, 2013, the feast of Christ the King. Pope Benedict XVI announced the Year of Faith to confront secularism and other challenges and to encourage Catholics to rediscover the faith and the “joy and enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ.” The Year of Faith focuses on the New Evangelization. This effort to rekindle the faith of Catholics, whether practicing or not, was a central theme of Pope John Paul II that has been continued and expanded under Pope Benedict.
The Vatican recommends that dioceses make the catechism and the documents of Vatican II available to all Catholics during the Year of Faith. Bishop Ricken said USCCB is launching an online version of the catechism and the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults. The new online texts will include interactive features and will be supported by a variety of web-based platforms, including tablets and smart phones.
Other online resources for the Year of Faith include the expansion of Facebook posts about the lives of saints, an online catechism quiz and a USCCB webpage at: www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/new-evangelization/year-of-faith/.
Bishop Ricken highlighted the document “Disciples Called to Witness: The New Evangelization,” a 2012 document by the USCCB Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis on welcoming returning Catholics, as a helpful resource for rekindling the faith of Catholics. USCCB will also produce catechetical pamphlets on different aspects of the New Evangelization, homily resources and prayer cards.
Events of the Year of Faith include the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization in Rome, October 7-28, with Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington serving as relator, and a second “Intellectual Tasks of the New Evangelization” conference for new theologians, tentatively scheduled for September 2013, in Washington.
The Year of Faith will also be the theme of several standing USCCB-related events including the March for Life, Catechetical Sunday, September 16, and the 2013 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering.
Keywords: Year of Faith, New Evangelization, USCCB, U.S. bishops, June meeting, Spring General Assembly, Atlanta, Bishop David Ricken, Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, social media, Second Vatican Council, Vatican II, Catechism of the Catholic Church
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