Celebrating the Year of Faith

Today starts The Year of Faith, a year Benedict XVI set aside for learning about, sharing and living out our Catholic faith.  The Holy Father celebrated a Mass this morning to open this year; here is his homily.  Many quotes jumped out at me from the homily, but let me share just one:  “Living faith opens the heart to the grace of God which frees us from pessimism.”

One of the reasons the Year of Faith begins October 11 is that today, is the 50th anniversary of the first session of Vatican II.  Here, BXVI shares some of his memories from that time.  Today is also the 20th anniversary of the release of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC).

Much has been written all over the Internet and in publications about living out The Year of Faith. I’m sure you parish, like ours, has many activities and events to help people grow in faith. I write here to encourage people (myself included) to consider the ways we can be intention in this Year of Faith about learning about our faith, praying together, and sharing it with others.

What are just a few of the ways to celebrate the Year of Faith?

Last Saturday, I attended a great gathering of women (called “First Saturday) to hear a presentation on the Year of Faith.  The couple giving the presentation were a “dynamic duo,” sharing with us and challenging us to live out the Year of Faith.  There was a lot of food for thought there; most helpful was an annotated version of the papal letter Porta Fidei (“the door of faith”) announcing the Year of Faith and what it means for us.

*Read Porta Fidei would be a great start to the year.

*Read the Catechism in a Year.

 I just received early this morning my first e-mail from Flocknote for Read the Catechism in a Year (reading this link will explain what it’s all about).  “Read the Catechism in a Year” is joint project of Matthew Warner’s Flocknote (a terrific service for parishes and other groups to communicate with people via texting, e-mail and other media ways) and Jeffrey Pinyan of  Catholic Cross Reference.  Sign up for this free service is quick and easy, and it’s just one e-mail a day.  There are more than 27,000 people signed up for this, so you’ll be reading along with a big group.

What a great idea!  When I got the first e-mail this morning, I confess my concern at how much text there would be to read, but it’s really bite-sized.

Back in the early 1990s, I actually read the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) start to finish in preparation for teaching religion to high schoolers, and I consider it a tremendous resource.

But I don’t “read” it much these days, using it like a reference, either online or in one of the copies floating around our house.  I do love the YouCat (youth version of the CCC,  as I’ve written about previously to page through, but one of the annoying things for me is that the paragraph numbers do no correspond to the Catechism.  So having the CCC come to my in-box provides a little push and reminder to re-connect with this Church treasure.

*Participate in a Scripture Study for the Year of Faith.

Here is a women’s Facebook group dedicated to reading Father Mitch Pacwa’s “The Year of Faith: A Bible Study Guide for Catholics.”  In addition to online discussion, open to women from all over, we will also meet locally in the Peoria, IL area once a month.  I’m sure there are many others, especially parish-based, to

*Get a plenary indulgence (or two, or many).  

Did you know there is a plenary indulgence associated with the Year of Faith?  You can read the details here, but just from a cursory read of the various ways to obtain the plenary indulgence, getting one or multiple ones is not difficult.

How do you plan to celebrate The Year of Faith?  Any great links or ideas to share?