Welcome to the Year of Faith!
The Year of Faith is actually slightly longer than a full year: October 11, 2012 through November 23, 2013. It has a three-fold focus: knowing our Catholic faith, living it out both sacramentally within the church and in the world, and sharing the faith through evangelization and catechesis. This is a wonderful opportunity to make a plan for yourself as to what you might do to grow in those three areas.
Here are some links to help us get the most out of this year.
An Overview of the Year of Faith
- Here’s the official Vatican home page for the Year of Faith (Annus Fidei). Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Letter introducing the Year of Faith is Porta Fidei or “The Door of Faith”. Deanna Bartalini has prepared some helpful study questions to help you get the most out of the Pope’s letter at the New Evangelizers website.
- The Calendar for the Year of Faith highlights special Vatican-sponsored events for the coming year including special days to celebrate the canonizations of new saints, lay and religious vocations, confirmations, World Youth Day, devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist, Mary and Marian devotion, and more.
- The Pope and the bishops of the world are meeting in a Synod through the month of October. The theme of those meeting is the new evangelization. The document that contains the agenda for those meetings is found here.
- The USCCB (United States Catholic Conference of Bishops) has their Year of Faith website here. You’ll find many resources including:
Knowing Your Faith
Get to know the Bible. Most newcomers to bible study get comfortable by first looking at the Gospels and the epistles of the New Testament. Here’s an excellent bible commentary series on the New Testament for personal study or for groups, plus a New Testament study bible to with wonderful study helps built right into its pages.
Get to know the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This landmark reference work is the first update to the universal catechism the Church has had in 400 years, since the Council of Trent. It’s a masterpiece of all the Church believes, worships, lives, and prays. The Year of Faith celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Catechism’s reception. Find one at your local Catholic bookseller, or you may enjoy these resources
- The Catechism is online on the Vatican website. But there’s an excellent online “searchable” Catechism, too! Start by learning the Precepts of the Church.
- Read the Catechism in a year by email. The makers of FlockNote have come up with a strategy by offering small chunks of the Catechism delivered to your email each day. Sign up or get more details here.
- YOUCAT: the Catechism for youth
Read the Documents of Vatican II. The Year of Faith coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council. Read the documents online, or buy a copy from your local Catholic bookseller. Need a place to start? Try reading Lumen Gentium (The Dogmatic Constitution of the Church). It is 8 chapters long and it is the key to unlocking the themes of the council found in the rest of the documents. Also, coming soon: a film on the historic Council known as Vatican II.
Discover Catholic programming to strengthen your faith through the national television ministries of Catholic TV and EWTN, and look to your local diocesan programming as well. Don’t forget Catholic radio networks, many of which can be found here. If you enjoy new media, SQPN is a Catholic podcasting network. Or, subscribe to Catholic newspapers, magazines, and your diocesan paper.
Watch a DVD. Try the 10-part Catholicism DVD series from Word on Fire. It is often shown in parishes and dioceses, as well as on Catholic television. It is also available for purchase.
Take a course. Pillars of Catholicism is a free online course that is being offered by the professors of John Paul the Great University. This series is a self-professed crash course in the fundamentals of the Catholic Faith. It consists of 13 episodes, each a half-hour long. A new episode will be unlocked each week and will be permanently accessible. The course and all materials it provides are free.
Interested in subject matter related to women and the feminine genius? Watch for my new book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood, due for release in March 2013. And for your personal and group study I recommend the ministry of Endow, which supports nearly 20,000 women in study groups across the US and Canada.
Living Your Faith
Get more out of the Mass. Try these resources:
- Fr. Robert Barron from Word on Fire offers thoughtful audio sermons every week. Check out the entire Word on Fire website for more Catholic content.
- USCCB website lets you read the day’s Mass readings, or hear them with the audio versions, plus listen to video reflections on their subject matter.
- Magnificat is a print subscription, or use their app for your smart phone to access the daily readings, commentary, and morning and evening prayer.
- Find a Mass near you or when you travel.
Pray more and increase your devotional life. Here’s a few suggestions:
- Discover the Liturgy of the Hours. Longtime the prayer practice of priests and religious, many lay people enjoy praying the liturgy of the hours in whole or in part. You can purchase a breviary from your local Catholic bookseller, or online, by going to Universalis or the Divine Office. Modified versions of morning prayer and evening prayer are found in Magnificat.
- Receive a plenary indulgence for your religious practice by fulfilling certain requirements during the Year of Faith. Elizabeth Scalia offers understanding on the plenary indulgence.
- Make a holy hour, or go to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Find a chapel that offers Adoration here.
- Learn how to pray the Rosary.
- Learn how to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
Sharing Your Faith
A baptized Catholic is baptized into the mission of the Church. Therefore, we, too, are called to spread the faith to others. Get started with these resources:
- USCCB has suggestions for sharing the faith through the new evangelization.
- Go and Make Disciples: A National Plan and Strategy for Catholic Evangelization in the United States.
- Share articles and blog posts from Patheos’ Catholic Portal.
- New Evangelizers website has blog posts and free resources that can help you make a faith connection with others.
- Amazing Catechists, led by Patheos’ columnist Lisa Mladinich, supports those called to the work of faith formation and religious education. Catechist’s Journey with Joe Paprocki also supports catechists.
- Share religious books with friends and family. Watch for Catholic Books that are offered for review in the Patheos Book Club when you see them suggested here on the Catholic portal. Plus, visit your Catholic bookseller for titles that may be of interest.
- Links to my archived articles on easy ways to share your faith with others from my column at Patheos, “A Word in Season”:
The information shared here is also found in numerous links I prepared for my column at Patheos. Read the original article here. You can subscribe to it via RSS or email here. It has also been shared in an audio format on the Among Women Podcast.