September 14, 2012


Archdiocese prepares to celebrate the Year of Faith

“All the good things the Church does flows from who we are, the faith we have which provides us our very identity. We do good stuff precisely because of our faith.”
—Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan

We would like to believe that, by now, every Catholic in central and southern Indiana has heard that Pope Benedict XVI has proclaimed the next 13 months (Oct. 11, 2012, through Nov. 24, 2013) as the Year of Faith.

We would like to believe this, but that would be too great a “leap of faith.” In spite of all the technological wonders of our modern age, it’s often hard to get the word out about all the things that are important to our Catholic way of life.

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis is addressing this communications challenge in an exciting and innovative way by asking every parish in central and southern Indiana to reach out to parishioners through a process that is designed to be both engaging and practical.

Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, apostolic administrator, is inviting all Catholics in the archdiocese to contribute to the writing of a pastoral resource called “10 Things We Want You to Know about the Catholic Faith.”

The process starts with a call to read, prayerfully reflect on and discuss one of the foundational documents of the Second Vatican Council, the “Dogmatic Constitution on the Church,” known as “Lumen Gentium” (“Light of the Nations”). Bishop Coyne describes “Lumen Gentium” as “an important ingredient of Sacred Tradition that helps bring clarity to our identity as Catholics.”

A reflection and discussion guide for “Lumen Gentium” will soon be available to Catholics throughout the archdiocese.

Following each parish’s effort to bring Catholics to a greater understanding of their identity, Bishop Coyne is asking each parish to convene “a town hall meeting of sorts” to surface the essential items of faith and practice that parishioners believe should be included in the list of “10 Things We Want You to Know About the Catholic Faith.”

Each parish will then send seven representatives to a deanery meeting with “a similar format and goal.” Deanery meetings will be followed by a single archdiocesan gathering—again focused on the Catholic faith’s “top 10” list.

Finally, Bishop Coyne says, “Input from all parish, deanery and archdiocesan gatherings will be compilied to inform the homily at a Mass to mark the transition from a Year of Faith to a time of intense focus on the New Evangelization.”

A pastoral resource, “10 Things We Want You to Know about the Catholic Faith,” will also be based on contributions from Catholics throughout the archdiocese. (Learn more about the project from our director of catechesis)

We applaud the initiative and creativity demonstrated by this pastoral initiative. Anything that gets Catholics to reflect on and share their faith is an appropriate response to the Church’s call for a new evangelization.

Anything that helps us speak clearly and simply, but also substantively about the faith which has been handed down to us by the Apostles is a welcome catechetical and evangelical resource.

As Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan wrote recently on his blog, “The Gospel in the Digital Age,” our Catholic identity is a gift from God that unites—inextricably—what we believe (our faith) and what we do (our good works). Or, as our Emeritus Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein likes to say, “There can be no divorcing doctrine (what we believe and teach) from the practice of our Catholic faith (what we do in our daily lives).”

We hope that the soon-to-be-written “top 10” list (what the faithful wants all people of good will to know about the Church’s teaching and her pastoral ministry) will be a compendium of the practical wisdom and spirituality found in the way of life lived by Catholic Christians for the past 2,000 years.

That list deserves to be shared with our sisters and brothers in all regions of our archdiocese! But according to Bishop Coyne, we cannot effectively share our faith with others until we first “spend a period of time bolstering our own faith in Jesus and our love for His Bride, our Church.”

Let’s observe the Year of Faith by prayerfully reflecting on what it means to be Catholic as well as by contributing to the archdiocesan effort to articulate the “10 Things We Want You to know about the Catholic Faith,” and—most importantly—by living our faith on a daily basis.

—Daniel Conway

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