Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Practically a holy year, with days devoted to religious, seminarians, catechists, youth, fraternities, movements, Marian associations and the canonization of martyrs and confessors of the faith, Eucharistic adoration in all the churches of world simultaneously, conferences, cultural events, an exhibition dedicated to St. Peter, a concert and a website (www.annusfidei.va.). Still more, including texts, a hymn and logo (at left). It will be the Year of Faith, devoted, as Benedict XVI wrote in Porta fidei, to "rediscovering the contents of the faith professed, celebrated, lived and prayed, and reflecting on the very act by which one believes, is a commitment that every believer must make his own."
The purpose and events of the Year were presented today at the Vatican by Msgr. Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization and Msgr. Graham Bell, under-secretary of the same dicastery.
An event that will open on October 11, the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of Vatican II, with a Mass concelebrated by all the Synod Fathers, the Presidents of Episcopal Conferences of the world and by the Council Fathers who are still alive.
"The Year of the faith", explained Msgr. Fisichella, "first, aims to support the faith of many believers who, in the midst of daily fatigues, do not cease to entrust their lives, with conviction and courage, to the Lord Jesus. Their valuable testimony, which doesn't make news before men, but is precious in the sight of the Most High, is what enables the Church to present itself in today's world, as it did in the past, with the force of the faith and the enthusiasm of the simple. This Year, however, fits within a broader context marked by a general crisis that also is affecting the faith. Subjected for decades to the raids of a secularism that in the name of individual autonomy demanded independence from every revealed authority, and which made its own program that of "living in the world as if God did not exist," our contemporary age has often found itself not knowing how to place itself. The crisis of faith is a dramatic expression of an anthropological crisis that has left man to himself; for this reason today he finds himself confused, lonely, at the mercy of forces unknown to him, and without a goal towards which to direct his life. It is necessary to be able to go beyond the spiritual poverty in which so many of our contemporaries find themselves, men and women who no longer feel the absence of God from their lives, as an absence that should be remedied. The Year of Faith, then, will be a path that the Christian community offers to many who live with a longing for God and desire to meet him again. It is therefore necessary for believers to feel a responsibility to provide the companionship of faith, to become close with those who ask the reason for our belief."
This is the calendar of events, presented today, which are only those of a universal character that will see the presence of the Pope.
* The solemn opening of the Year of the Faith will take place in St. Peter's Square on Thursday, October 11, the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of Vatican II. There will be a solemn Mass concelebrated by all the Synod Fathers, the Presidents of Episcopal Conferences of the world and by the Council Fathers who are still alive who can make it for the event.
* The first event of the Year, Sunday, October 21, will be the canonization of six martyrs and confessors of the faith. The sign speaks for itself. In the wake of what is written in Porta fidei: "By faith, over the centuries, men and women of all ages, whose name is written in the Book of Life, have confessed the beauty of following the Lord Jesus where they were called to give testimony of their being Christians"(PF 13). There will be canonized: Jacques Barthieu, Jesuit priest and missionary martyr in Madagascar (1896); Peter Calungsod, lay catechist, martyr in the Philippines (1672); Giovanni Battista Piamarta, priest and witness of the faith in the education of the youth (1913), Mother Marianne (Barbara Cope) witness of faith in the leper colony of Molokai (1918), Mary of Mount Carmel, religious in Spain (1911), Catherine Tekakwitha, secular Indian converted to Catholicism (1680), and Anna Schäffer, secular Bavarian witness to the love of Christ from her bed of suffering (1925). We will have the opportunity, therefore, to reflect and pray about these witnesses who with the heroism of their lives are placed by the Church as examples of living faith.
* On January 25, 2013, the traditional ecumenical celebration in the basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls will have a more solemn ecumenical character and we will pray together so that by the common profession of the creed the Christians who have received the same baptism may not forget the way of unity as the visible sign to offer the world.
* Saturday, Feb. 2, the celebration for all people who have dedicated their lives to the Lord through a religious profession will gather in St. Peter's Basilica for a common prayer to witness that the faith also requires concrete signs aimed at keeping alive the hope in the Lord who comes.
* Palm Sunday, March 24, will be, as always, dedicated to young people who are preparing for World Youth Day.
* Sunday, April 28th will be dedicated to all young boys and girls who have received the sacrament of Confirmation. The Holy Father will give Confirmation to a small group of young people as a testimony of the public profession of faith in confirmation of that made in baptism.
* Sunday, May 5 will be dedicated to the celebration of faith that finds its initial expression in popular piety and that over the course of the centuries has been passed on as a peculiar form of faith of the people through the life of the Confraternities.
* The Pentecost Vigil, on May 18, will be dedicated to all the movements, old and new, with the pilgrimage to the Tomb of Peter, a witness of the faith who on the day of Pentecost opened the doors of the house to go into the squares and streets to announce the resurrection of Christ. In St. Peter's square we will ask the Lord to send his Spirit once more in abundance to renew the miracles, as in the early days of the early Church.
* On the feast of Corpus Domini, Sunday, June 2, we will have a Solemn Eucharistic Adoration that will held simultaneously throughout the world. In the cathedral of each diocese and in every church, it will be possible, at the same hour, to experience the silence of contemplation as a witness to the faith that contemplates the mystery of God alive and present among us with his Body and his Blood.
* Sunday, June 16th will be dedicated to the testimony of the Gospel of life that has always seen the Church as a promoter of human life and defender of the dignity of the person from the first moment until his or her last natural moment.
* Sunday, July 7 will see the conclusion of the pilgrimage to St. Peter that seminarians, novices, and those in vocational paths will undertake to make public the joy of their choice to follow the Lord in the service of his Church.
* From July 23 to 28, World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro will be as always the culmination of a journey that will see young people from around the world in a joyful meeting to tell everyone of the importance of faith.
* September 29 will be dedicated in particular to Catechists, to make clear the importance of catechesis in the growth of faith and the intelligent and systematic understanding of the faith in relation to personal life and community growth. It will be an opportunity to recall the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
* Sunday, October 13 will see the presence of all the Marian realities to show how the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, is an icon of the faith of every believer, who in their obedient reliance on the will of the Father can accomplish true marvels.
* On Sunday, November 24, finally, there will be celebrated the final day of the Year of Faith.
The Calendar of the Year, concluded Msgr. Fisichella, "is much broader than these great events. Several dicasteries have already planned initiatives that are published in the calendar. Depending on their fields of competence, the dicasteries will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Vatican II with special conferences and cultural events. A particular catechetical path, for example, will be proposed in the catacombs by the Pontifical Council for Culture. From the website you can follow the initiatives that day after day will come to the attention of the secretary general also from the different ecclesial realities."