November 18, 2011

Catholic Evangelization Outreach / Peg McEvoy

Announcing a ‘Year of Faith’

Last month, Pope Benedict XVI announced a “Year of Faith” for the Church across the world from October of 2012 through November of 2013. It is a “summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Savior of the world.”

The Holy Father goes on to be very specific about his goals for the year. Three of them are to:

  • Awaken in every believer the desire to profess the faith in fullness … with confidence and hope.
  • Intensify the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist.
  • Intensify the witness of charity.

For the last goal, the pope offers not just the goal desired but the path toward that goal as well. He prays that “believers’ witness of life may grow in credibility … .”

How do we grow in credibility? First, we need to “rediscover the content of the faith that is professed, celebrated, lived and prayed.” In addition, we need to “reflect on the act of faith.” These are tasks that “every believer must make his own, especially in the course of this year.”

This is a year intended to encourage us to focus on our own faith in a way that it can be shared even more clearly and fully. This involves joy and hope and love.

“Faith grows when it is lived as an experience of grace and joy,” the pope wrote. “It makes us fruitful because it expands our hearts in hope and enables us to bear life-giving witness. Indeed, it opens the hearts and minds of those who listen to respond to the Lord’s invitation to adhere to his word and become his disciples.”

We have an opportunity to see a witness of joyous faith this weekend in Indianapolis. The 23,000 youths attending the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) will be expanding their hearts, and sharing the witness of their faith.

They will be professing in faith and confidence and, at the same time, deepening their faith. They will be celebrating their faith with prayer and liturgy, especially the celebration of the Eucharist. They will focus on sharing their faith through witness of word and charity. And through it all, they will be growing in credibility as true believers in Jesus Christ.

If we are fortunate enough to be volunteers, chaperones, presenters or participants, let us take a close look at how our faith is celebrated this weekend. Let us see what can be built upon in our parishes and carried into the “Year of Faith.” If you can’t be present, ask someone who attends NCYC to share their experiences.

However the planning for the “Year of Faith” is organized in your parish, be sure to talk to the youths and your youth minister, especially if they participated in NCYC. They will have experienced and learned much, and will have much to share about the very goals toward which Pope Benedict is leading us.

If you are on a parish evangelization team, consider how these goals for the “Year of Faith” can be encouraged in your parish. Start talking, brainstorming and planning.

If your parish doesn’t have an evangelization team, talk to your pastor about setting up a “Year of Faith” team. Coordinate with staff, parish council members and various committees to bring this year to life in your parish. And by the grace of God, may all our parishes grow in faith and joy.

(Peg McEvoy is the archdiocesan associate director for Evangelization and Family Catechesis. For questions and/or help starting a parish evangelization team, send an e-mail to her at or call 317-236-1430 or 800-382-9836, ext. 1430.)

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