Online Staff Report
The Diocese of Rockford will join the universal Catholic Church in observing a Year of Faith beginning today, Thursday, Oct. 11.
Bishop of Rockford David J. Malloy has issued a letter (see below) to diocesan Catholics in English and Spanish inviting them to join in the year-long observance.
At certain times in the history of the Church, popes have called upon the faithful to dedicate themselves to deepening their understanding of a particular aspect of the faith.
The upcoming Year of Faith declared by Pope Benedict XVI is a “summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the One Savior of the world” (Porta fidei 6). In other words, the Year of Faith is an opportunity for Catholics to experience a conversion — to turn back to Jesus and enter into a deeper relationship with him. The pope has described this conversion as opening the “door of faith” (see Acts 14:27). The “door of faith” is opened at one’s baptism, but during this year Catholics are called to open it again, walk through it and rediscover and renew their relationship with Christ and his Church.
With his Apostolic Letter of Oct. 11, 2011, Porta fidei, Pope Benedict XVI declared that the Year of Faith will begin today on Oct. 11, 2012 and conclude Nov. 24, 2013.
Today, Oct. 11, the first day of the Year of Faith, is the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) and also the 20th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. During the Year of Faith, Catholics are asked to study and reflect on the documents of Vatican II and the catechism so that they may deepen their knowledge of the faith.
To begin the year-long observance, Bishop Malloy will kick off the Rediscovery of Faith series sponsored by St. Rita Catholic Church, 6254 Valley Knoll Drive, Rockford, at 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 11, with a talk and reflection on the documents of Vatican II. Beginning in Advent this year, Bishop Malloy will host his own lecture series of national speakers for The Year of Faith. That schedule will be made available in the next few weeks at http://yearoffaith.rockforddiocese.org.
All 105 parishes of the Rockford Diocese will begin the Year of Faith at Masses this weekend and most will have activities throughout the year to help Catholics deepen their Faith. Details of those events, videos and the Rockford Diocese’s own prayer for the Year of Faith, will all be posted on a special web page dedicated to the Year of Faith included on the Rockford Diocese’s main website at www.rockforddiocese.org.
Following is the letter issued by Bishop Malloy:
Dear Catholics of the Diocese of Rockford,
How precious to us is the gift of our faith in Christ and in his Church. That faith keeps us from looking at ourselves and at the world with earthly eyes only. It is our Catholic faith, given to us as a gift to treasure, protect and share with the whole world, that marks our whole being in our thoughts, in our words and in our works.
One year ago, on Oct. 11, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI issued the Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (Door of Faith) by which he announced a Year of Faith. That year will begin on Oct. 11, 2012, the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. It will run until its conclusion on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King, on Nov. 24, 2013.
The Holy Father has urged us to understand the Year of Faith as “a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Savior of the world” (PF, 6). I urge us to make this year one of a revitalized commitment to live and especially to understand the gift of faith. At a distance of 50 years from the Second Vatican Council, I suggest we read again the documents of that assembly. Study them to take to heart the fullness of our Catholic teaching as well as the depth and beauty of the liturgy and prayer of the Church. Let’s make it a point as well to be mindful of the poor and needy during this year since our faith without this element of charity and love is not complete.
Pope Benedict has spoken of our “need to rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ” (PF, 2). I urge all of us to take the time and make the effort to celebrate this year of faith. Let’s recommit ourselves to Christ and to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, leading us, through the Church, to eternal peace and joy in the Blessed Trinity.
Cordially Yours in Christ,
Most Reverend David J. Malloy
Bishop of Rockford
Posted Oct. 11, 2012