Tuesday, October 16, 2012


As a kid, October 11th was always a good day in our family.  It's not that we were big on commemorating the anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council in 1962, or that we celebrated the debut of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in 1992.  No, October 11th was my father's birthday, and that always meant a great dinner (including desert)!  In the two years since my dad died, October 11th has taken on a new sense of importance for my family--as we remember and celebrate the guy we somehow miss and appreciate a little bit more with each passing month. 

Thanks to the attention generated by the Year of Faith--called for by Pope Benedict (here photographed with Papa Doug, as his eighteen outstanding grandchildren called him),  my family and I have a new-found appreciation for the ecclesial significance of October 11th.  I also feel a sense of anticipation for November 24th, 2013--the end of the Year of Faith on the feast of Christ the King: how will my own faith life and the life of the Church be deeper and richer, thanks to this Year?

So, given that our Holy Father has invited us to dive more deeply into our faith this Year, how about this for a conversation starter in the weeks ahead:  "What are you doing for the Year of Faith?"  In other words, how about if we ask ourselves and others how we want our faith to be deeper and stronger by the end of this Year?  Most of us make New Year's resolutions; so why not make a Year of Faith Resolution, and then encourage others to do so as well?

The Diocese of Joliet has put together a monthly framework for the Year which highlights the articles of the Creed, links them to a more general theme for each month, and then suggests opportunities for study, prayer, and action.  There are some related Scripture passages, as well as a short passage from one of the Vatican II documents plus Catechism selections.  It's basically an open invitation to explore the rich content of the faith, so we can make a more whole-hearted act of faith in response to the revelation of God's self-giving love in Jesus.

Here are a couple concrete possibilities to consider or recommend for this Year of Faith:
This Year is an invitation to seek a deeper understanding of our faith, a more faithful participation in the mysteries made present in the Sacraments, a more holistic grasp of the reasons for the Church's moral teachings, and a more personal relationship with the living God of Jesus Christ in our prayer life.  In other words, let's "join hands" with Pope Benedict to chart a path toward  where we hope to be next November 24th, so we can celebrate the Year by proclaiming with the universal Church:  Long live Christ the King!