Year Of Faith
Vatican Council II and the Year of Faith
By Jim Grant
The date chosen to begin our Year of Faith is October 11, exactly 50 years after the opening of the Second Vatican Council. While we are also celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, I’d like to share with you my reflections on the Council and its importance 50 years after its opening.
Most of the major players at the Council are enjoying the eternal rewards of their earthly labors. One Conciliar “peritus” (expert) is still very much involved in the implementation of documents that he helped formulate as a young priest is Pope Benedict XVI. In 1962 he came to the Council as a Theologian assistant to the very influential Cardinal Josef Frings, Archbishop of Cologne, Germany. An intellectual, and confidant of Pope John XXIII, he supported a role for theologians that would counterbalance the powerful influence of the Curia which the pope had inherited.
Many important and difficult topics were discussed by the Council Fathers, and some very important decisions were made at the Council. Compromises abounded, as there had to be, with 2400 voting participants, coming from so many diverse cultures, traditions and parts of the Catholic world. The 16 documents that prelates like Cardinals Leger, Bea, Frings and Suenens worked so strenuously on (especially those on “The Church in the Modern World”, “Revelation” and “The Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions”) definitely moved the Church in a new direction of dialogue, openness, even boldness.
Where are we now with Council? How can we recover some of its positive energy? What can we do to connect the Second Vatican Council to the Year of Faith as the Pope has invited us to?
I offer two suggestions.
1. Get a copy of the Vatican Documents and start reading the 4 major documents (The Church, The Sacred Liturgy, The Church Today, and Divine Revelation). Be prepared to enjoy what you read. If you have questions, call your priest (this will both amaze and impress him) or me (559-488-7440) for further encouragement, direction and clarity.
2. Check out the three videos that are embedded here. In each one Fr. David Norris and I review chronologically the great gift to the Church that was the Second Vatican Council. After these videos give you an overview of the Council, check out our station’s website (knxt.tv) where we will have videos and other resources posted there for you on the themes of “Vatican II” and “The Year of Faith”.
After you view the videos and resources, let us know what you think about the, and share them with all you social media contacts. The Year of Faith is already 2 months in, so let’s get started. Who knows if the Year of Faith won’t make 2013 a year of Hope and Love as well!
Happy New Year of Faith!
Year of Faith: Key Elements to Focus on
Pope Benedict XVI in his Porta Fidei Apostolic Letter of 2011 has proclaimed a Year of Faith beginning October 11, 2012, and concluding on the Solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe on November 24, 2013. During this year all believers around the world are called to review their commitment to their Faith.
From the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI has worked to gather God’s people into a fuller communion with one another and with the Risen Lord. The Year of Faith is a time for us to renew our personal relationship with Jesus and recommit ourselves to the Church.
During this Year of Faith we celebrate the anniversaries of two great events: the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th Anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Twenty years ago Blessed Pope John Paul II published the Catechism of the Catholic Church. During this special year, every baptized person is encouraged to re-visit the Catechism to deepen their understanding and appreciation of the most important gift given us – our Faith.
We are given key elements to focus our attention on during this year: Conversion, Charity, and New Evangelization.
Conversion- Every baptized person is important to the renewal of the Body of Christ. During these grace-filled months, we are invited to reflect on our journey with God, to examine what ways we are being called to grow and change. Our calling is a life-long pilgrimage of Faith and we are called to follow the Lord’s way, allowing ourselves to be led in and through His love.
Charity- Not just during this special year, but daily, we as Christians need to give witness of our Faith through works of charity. Faith must be given expression through actions and put into practice. We are called to re-commit ourselves to be of service to others.
New Evangelization- Our gift of Faith needs to be proclaimed. Pope Benedict XVI uses the term “New Evangelization.” We know that the teachings of Jesus are the same yesterday, today and forever. Pope Benedict wants every member of the Church to re-discover new ways of sharing the message of Jesus, and to make our Faith visible and heard. We need to be witnesses of our gift of Faith to those persons who are not baptized yet and are seriously searching for meaning and truth in their lives. It is our duty to be credible witnesses to them.
Information has been taken from the article entitled Year of Faith, October 11, 2012 to November 24, 2013, printed by the Department for Evangelization and Catechesis, Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales.
This was written by Sr. Rosalie Rohrer, IHM, with the collaboration of Msgr. Myron J. Cotta, V.G.
Year of Faith, Celebrating Re-Birth of the Liturgy Fifty Years Later
By Fr. Michael Lastiri, Director of Worship, Diocese of Fresno
Recently, Pope Benedict XVI announced the celebration of the Year of Faith. It has been fifty years since the Second Vatican Council commenced in Rome, and this time allotted to the Church by the Pope is an attempt to reflect on the richness of those documents and those events, which reformed the Catholic Church.
One of the most significant reforms of the Council, called forth by Blessed Pope John XXIII, was the renewal of the Liturgy. In the conciliar document, Sacrosanctum concilium, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, which was inaugurated in 1963, was the first of the major documents to be finished by the Bishops at the Council.
It is important to note, that in the 2,000 years of the life of the Czhurch, the liturgy has gone through significant changes in every generation, from the home liturgies to major Papal Masses with much pomp and circumstance. For example, only since the very end of the 16th century, was Latin the ‘official’ liturgical language of the Church, but France did not implement it completely until the end of the 19th century. Whenever someone says the form of the Mass has never changes, they ought to pick up a history of the Mass. The theology always remains the same, the manner it’s celebration constantly changes.
Sacrosanctum concilium called for a renewal, a continuation of work that had begun under the pontificate of Pope Pius XII, who have given permission to some groups to experiments with changes that would make the Mass and the celebration of the Sacraments more relevant to faithful. Already in Germany, a Benedictine monastery had begun the celebration of the Mass in local language and facing the people. St. Pope Pius X had encouraged young children to receive the Eucharist at an earlier age. Most people before the Council did not receive Communion at Mass. There was also a call for the liturgies to be in a simpler form, using language that could be understood by most. The documents encouraged laymen and women to take fuller active participation in the Mass, and to have them use their gifts in different ministries, such as Lector, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, and various other ministries that we take for granted at Mass today. In the days before the Council, only priests and deacons would ever be seen in the sanctuary. Today, we recognize that all baptized people have a responsibility assist in liturgical matters.
Fifty years later, the worship experience of Roman Catholics is completely different. We hear and participate Mass in our various languages. We sing hymns and songs in our languages as well. In the fifty years since Vatican II, the Church has revised the English version of the Mass three times, as we commenced with the Third Edition of the Roman Missal last Advent. The Church is not static, but a living entity, thus the Sacred Liturgy must also be.
The Holy Spirit continues to inspire men and women to pray, to act, and toward holiness throughout the world through the Mass and the celebration of all the Sacraments. It is a constant reminder that renewal is important in every age.
In this Year of Faith, the Holy Father encourages all members of the Church to read again those beautiful documents that open the window to new insights. Take the time to pray with the documents, and see how the Holy Spirit moved the minds of hearts of those Bishops and theologians who were able to move the Church forward.