In his Apostolic Letter to the world’s faithful last October, Pope Benedict declared a “Year of Faith” beginning in October 2012. It will mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. In this letter he writes that the Year of Faith “is a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Saviour of the world”.
Referring to St Paul’s second letter to Timothy, His Holiness wrote:
“We hear this invitation directed to each of us, that none of us grow lazy in the faith. It is the lifelong companion that makes it possible to perceive, ever anew, the marvels that God works for us. Intent on gathering the signs of the times in the present of history, faith commits every one of us to become a living sign of the presence of the Risen Lord in the world. What the world is in particular need of today is the credible witness of people enlightened in mind and heart by the word of the Lord, and capable of opening the hearts and minds of many to the desire for God and for true life, life without end.”
At a meeting over the weekend of 25 – 26 March, Bishop Pat Dunn and the Auckland Diocesan Pastoral CounciI continued planning the diocesan response to Pope Benedict’s call for a renewal of faith – a re-evangelisation – to rediscover the beauty and privilege of the gift of faith, and to enliven and strengthen our commitment to it.
A number of suggestions are already being considered, and parishes are being asked for their input and ideas to contribute to the Year of Faith.
A “Word of God Symposium” will be held on 12-14 October when twenty different workshops will be offered. Topics will be relevant to parents, catechists, young people and anyone who wants to know more about the Bible and its impact on our lives and faith. A group of “experts” from around New Zealand will conduct these workshops, and all Catholics in the diocese are welcome. Details will be sent to parishes and extensively advertised. (Enquiries can be made by email to email@example.com or by phoning 360 3004.)
During the Diocesan Pastoral Council weekend discussions, a number of factors were identified as the realities of evangelization (and re-evangelisation) today. Catholics need to gain confidence in giving witness to their Catholic faith and sharing it with others. Social changes mean that what worked in earlier times doesn’t work today. Changed lifestyles include technologies that have revolutionised communication and information, working parents, the business of people’s lives, wide cultural and ethnic diversity, the fact that many families now live overseas. The Mass and the parish was once at the hub of Catholic social life, but with the choices available this is no longer the case.
Other suggestions being considered are one large diocesan celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation and pilgrimages to places of significance in the city and around the diocese.
Ongoing information about diocesan Year of Faith initiatives and events will be given on our diocesan websites and in communication to parishes.