by Cindy Wooden
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Benedict XVI announced a special “Year of Faith” to help Catholics appreciate the gift of faith, deepen their relationship with God and strengthen their commitment to sharing faith with others.
Celebrating Mass Oct. 16 with participants in a Vatican conference on new evangelization, the pope said the Year of Faith would give “renewed energy to the mission of the whole church to lead men and women out of the desert they often are in and toward the place of life: friendship with Christ who gives us fullness of life.”
The pope said the observance would begin Oct. 11, 2012 – the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council – and conclude Nov. 24, 2013 – the feast of Christ the King.
“It will be a moment of grace and commitment to an ever fuller conversion to God, to reinforce our faith in him and to proclaim him with joy to the people of our time,” the pope said in his homily.
Pope Benedict explained his intention more fully in “Porta Fidei” (“The Door of Faith”), an apostolic letter released Oct. 17 to formally announce the special year.
The pope said the Catechism of the Catholic Church, first published in 1992, should serve as the handbook for helping Catholics rediscover the truths of faith and deepen their understanding of Church teaching.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he said, will publish a “note” to help people live the year “in the most effective and appropriate ways at the service of belief and evangelization.”