WASHINGTON—To honor the fiftiethanniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, PopeBenedict XVI has announced a Year of Faith, starting October 11 and endingNovember 24, 2013, meant to strengthen the faith of Catholics and draw theworld to faith by their example. Pope Benedict encourages Catholics to studythe lives of the saints as part of the Year of Faith in order to follow theirexample.
Jeannine Marino, program specialistfor the Secretariat of Evangelization and Catechesis of the U.S. Conference ofCatholic Bishops (USCCB) offers "10 Saints Who Were Great Evangelizers" inhonor of the Year of Faith and All Saints Day, which the Church celebrates on November1. Marino is a canon lawyer who has served as a postulator and advisor toseveral canonization causes. A postulator conducts research into the life of aproposed saint. Marino offers:
1. Sts. Peter and Paul –Peter and Paul laid the foundations of theearly Church and are among the most venerated saints. Peter was the first toprofess that Jesus is the Son of God,and the papacy is built on his witness. Paul's mission trips expanded the reachof the young Church, and his writings articulate our faith. Both men werewilling to bear witness to the point of death, and both were martyred in Rome.
2. St. Jerome – A Fourth Century Doctor of the Church, Jerome made theBible more accessible to everyday people when he translated it into Latin from its original Hebrew andGreek. St. Jerome is famous for saying, "Ignorance of the Scriptures isignorance of Christ." We can follow in Jerome's evangelizing footsteps byloving the Word of God.
3. St. Augustine – Bishop of Hippo, a contemporary of Jerome, andanother Doctor of the Church, Augustine was notorious for his life of sinfulindulgence prior to his conversion. He continues to inspire people, not only becauseof his conversion, but also with the brilliance of his writings—most famouslyhis Confessions—which have had aprofound impact on Christian thought down to the present day.
4. St. Patrick – As the Fifth Century Apostle of Ireland, Patrickexemplifies how Christian witness can have a pervasive, lasting impact on aculture. Following the example of Jesus, who taught with imagery, St. Patrick isknown for using the image of the shamrock to illustrate the Trinity, making agreat mystery of God accessible to all people.
5. St. Francis of Assisi – One of the most beloved saints, Francis ofAssisi lived the Gospel by identifying himself with the poor, embracingoutcasts and enemies, andcelebratingthe goodness of God present in all creation. His witness revitalized a Churchthat had "fallen into ruin," and his influence today goes beyond the order hefounded and even beyond the Catholic Church. When the last two popes heldinterreligious gatherings to pray for peace, they met not in Rome, but inAssisi.
6. St. Ignatius of Loyola – Founder of the Society of Jesus, or theJesuits, Ignatius of Loyola was a former soldier from Spain. He founded theJesuits in 1540 as an effort to counter the effects of the ProtestantReformation by the promotion and defense of the teachings and authority oftheChurch across Europe. Ignatius alsodeveloped his Spiritual Exercises, a model of prayer still used today.
7. St. Francis Xavier – A close friend of St. Ignatius and one of thefirst Jesuits, Francis Xavier was a great missionary to Asia, visiting India,Indonesia, Japan and other countries. He was named the patron of Catholicmissions by Pope Pius XI.
8. St. Juan Diego – The peasant to whom Our Lady of Guadalupe appearedJuan Diego is essentially the evangelizerof an entire hemisphere. Blessed Pope JohnPaul II named Our Lady of Guadalupe the patroness of the Americas in 1999 andcanonized Juan Diego in 2002. He is the first indigenous Mexican saint.
9. St. Daniel Comboni – Another great missionary in the history of theChurch, Daniel Comboni traveled from his native Italy to Central Africa and foundedthe Comboni Missionaries and the Comboni Missionary Sisters in 1867 and 1872, respectively.He spent nearly all of his priesthood in Africa and was named a bishop andapostolic vicar to Africa in 1877. He died in 1881 and was canonized in 2003.
10. St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus – Also known as St. Thérèse of Lisieuxand the Little Flower, Thérèse was a French Carmelite in the late 1800s. She isbest known for pursuing the "little way" to holiness, serving God in everylittle action of daily life, before dying of tuberculosis at the age of 24 in1897. She was named the patroness of Catholic missions by Pope Pius XI becauseof her devotion of praying for missionaries. She was named a Doctor of the Church(the third woman and youngest person ever to receive this honor) by Blessed PopeJohn Paul II in 1997.
More information on the Year ofFaith is available online: www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/new-evangelization/year-of-faith/
Keywords: saints, evangelizers, Year of Faith, NewEvangelization, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul II, St. Peter, St. Paul, St.Jerome, St. Augustine, St. Patrick, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Ignatius ofLoyola, St. Francis Xavier, St. Juan Diego, St. Daniel Comboni, St. Thérèse ofLisieux, doctor of the church, canonized, missionaries
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