The Year of Faith just began October 11th and runs until November 24, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI has called for this special year as an invitation to “an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Saviour of the world” (Apostolic Letter, Porta Fidei, 6). He hopes it will inspire in all believers, “the aspiration to profess the faith in fullness and with renewed conviction, with confidence and hope. It will also be a good opportunity to intensify the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist, which is ‘the summit towards which the activity of the Church is directed… and also the source from which all of its power flows’ (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 10). At the same time, we make it our prayer that believers’ witness of life may grow in credibility. To rediscover the content of the faith that is professed, celebrated, lived and prayed, (cf. Constituzione Apostolica, Fidei Depositum, 116) and to reflect on the act of faith, is a task that every believer must make his own, especially in the course of this Year” (Porta fidei, 9). The last time a Year of Faith was proclaimed by The Vatican was 1968.
There are a number of great resources you can share with your parish for this Year of Faith (links below). Pope Benedict would like to emphasize for practicing Catholics to know their faith well in order to answer the call for the New Evangelization. To know your faith and to be able to share it with others, it is suggested that lay faithful should study and know The Bible and Catechism. This Year of Faith marks the 50th Anniversary of Vatican II and the 20th Anniversary of the Catechism, and Pope Benedict would like for lay faithful to read the documents of Vatican II as they are very much relevant today as they were 50 years ago.
The people at FlockNote and Catechism API have teamed-up to offer a great FREE service of sending by e-mail each day, a part of the Catechism to be able to read the entire book by the end of the Year of Faith. They have already reported that 47,000 people have signed-up, and you should encourage your parish to join this effort recommended by Pope Benedict.
Jeff Cavins has developed one of the most popular Bible study programs called The Great Adventure Bible Study. It is available in a 24-part of shorter 8-part study of The Bible using DVD presentations with workbooks and discussion groups. This is a great study of The Bible which uses the narrative books of The Bible and a useful timeline to help you understand the Old and New Testaments in their context to history and faith. My diocese of Richmond, Virginia has purchased the series to lend to parishes, you may want to check if your diocese has it available. Jeff Cavins is also offering a FREE weekly e-mail of reflections for the Year of Faith. Following is a video about The Great Adventure Bible Study:
Jeff & Emily Cavins have also produced an additional program to strengthen your faith called Walking Toward Eternity. This is a journal and video series that can be done individually or with a group. Jeff recently stated at the Catholic New Media Conference that this has strengthened his Catholic Faith more than any previous exercise. Following is a promotion for this new program for The Year of Faith:
Fr. Robert Barron has also developed one of the best documentaries explaining the Catholic Faith called Catholicism. This is a well produced series showing the beauty, goodness, truth, and history of the Catholic Faith. Fr. Barron spent five years producing the high definition video showing the best of the Catholic Faith around the world. We offered this at my church and invited the public to view this with a coffeehouse and had great success. This series is available in English and Spanish. Fr. Barron has also added a good video explaining the seven qualities of a New Evangelist.
Finally, Little iApps has developed a new App for the Year of Faith offering faithful each day of the 410 days of the Year of Faith, providing an online community of daily catechesis, challenges for spiritual growth and opportunities for participating in the New Evangelization. This is available for the Android platform now, and will be coming to the iPhone any day now.
Walking Toward Eternity (Jeff & Emily Cavins)
Word On Fire’s Catholicism Series (Fr. Robert Barron)