POPE Benedict the XVI has officially announced the Year of Faith that will commence on October 11, 2012 and end on November 24, 2013—the feast of Christ the King. This will mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of Blessed John Paul II’s publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The formal announcement was made last October 15 during an international conference on new evangelization held in Rome that was attended by 33 bishops’ conferences and 115 new movements, organizations, charismatic groups, parish renewal programs and study groups; convened by the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization.
The intention and content of the Year of Faith is extensively explained in an Apostolic Letter entitled “Porta Fidei” (The Door of Faith) which the Vatican released two days after the formal announcement of the Year of Faith.
This, of course, is all about the new evangelization which the Holy Father is strongly pursuing in response to a “profound crisis of faith that has affected many people” the world over. In Porta Fidei, he reveals, “Ever since the start of my ministry as Successor of Peter, I have spoken of the need to rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ.”
If the composition of those who were invited to the international conference on the new evangelization where the Year of Faith was formally announced were any indicator, then one may surmise of the directions this new initiative is going to take. Present during conference were the so-called leaders of Communion and Liberation, namely, the Community of Sant’Egidio, the Neo-Catechumenal Way, the Emmanuel Community, the Charismatic renewal communities, the Brazilian media group Cancao Nova, and an Italian parish renewal group. Reportedly, the new Catholic movements dominated the crowd—which may be a manifestation about a heavily but spontaneously emerging pastoral in the Church today.
But even more telling were the topics discussed during the same conference. The discussions focused largely on how to better evangelize in the area of culture, in political involvement, in the use of media, and in the regular apostolate of among migrants, families and parishes.
The opening of the Year of Faith will be occasioned by the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October 2012 on the theme “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith”. It will be interesting, and one can hardly wait, how the Synod will come up with the new ways of transmitting the faith so that, as the Pope pointed out, there will be a “renewed energy to the mission of the whole church to lead men and women out of the desert they often are in…” But will the android, the apps and the iPad be counted?