Welcome to the Year of Faith! It's actually slightly longer than a full year: October 11, 2012 through November 23, 2013. It has a three-fold focus: knowing our Catholic faith, living it out sacramentally within the church and in the world, and sharing the faith through evangelization and catechesis. This is a wonderful opportunity to plan what you might do to grow in those three areas.

Here are some links to help us get the most out of this year.

An Overview of the Year of Faith

  1. Here's the official Vatican home page for the Year of Faith (Annus Fidei). Pope Benedict's Apostolic Letter introducing the Year of Faith is Porta Fidei or "The Door of Faith." Deanna Bartalini has prepared some helpful study questions to help you get the most out of the Pope's letter at the New Evangelizers website.
  2. The Calendar for the Year of Faith highlights special Vatican-sponsored events for the coming year including special days to celebrate the canonizations of new saints, lay and religious vocations, confirmations, World Youth Day, devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist, Mary and Marian devotion, and more.
  3. The Pope and the bishops of the world are meeting in a Synod through the month of October. The theme of those meeting is the new evangelization. The document that contains the agenda for those meetings is found here.
  4. The USCCB (United States Catholic Conference of Bishops) has their Year of Faith website here. You'll find many resources including:
    1. a Year of Faith Q & A
    2. a good line-up of videos on a variety of topics

Knowing Your Faith

  1. Get to know the Bible. Most newcomers to Bible study get comfortable by first looking at the Gospels and the epistles of the New Testament. Here's an excellent Bible commentary series on the New Testament for personal study or for groups, plus a New Testament study Bible with wonderful study helps built right into its pages.
  2. Get to know the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This landmark reference work is the first update to the universal catechism the Church has had in 400 years, since the Council of Trent. It's a masterpiece of all the Church believes, worships, lives, and prays. The Year of Faith celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Catechism's reception. Find one at your local Catholic bookseller, or you may enjoy these resources:
    1. An online "searchable" Catechism
    2. The Catechism on the Vatican website
    3. Read the Catechism in a year by email. The makers of FlockNote have come up with a strategy by offering small chunks of the Catechism delivered to your email each day. Sign up or get more details here.
    4. United States Catholic Catechism for Adults
    5. YOUCAT: the Catechism for youth
    6. Start by learning the Precepts of the Church.
  3. Read the Documents of Vatican II. The Year of Faith coincides with the 50th anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council. Read the documents online, or buy a copy from your local Catholic bookseller. Need a place to start? Try reading Lumen Gentium (The Dogmatic Constitution of the Church). It is eight chapters long and it is the key to unlocking the themes of the council found in the rest of the documents. Also, coming soon: a film on the historic Council known as Vatican II.
  4. Discover Catholic programming to strengthen your faith through the national television ministries of Catholic TV and EWTN, and look to your local diocesan programming as well. Don't forget Catholic radio networks, many of which can be found here. If you enjoy new media, SQPN is a Catholic podcasting network. Or, subscribe to Catholic newspapers, magazines, and your diocesan paper.
  5. Watch a DVD. Try the ten-part Catholicism DVD series from Word on Fire. It is often shown in parishes and dioceses, as well as on Catholic television. It is also available for purchase.
  6. Take a course. Pillars of Catholicism is a free online course that is being offered by the professors of John Paul the Great University. This series is a self-professed crash course in the fundamentals of the Catholic Faith. It consists of thirteen episodes, each a half-hour long. A new episode will be unlocked each week and will be permanently accessible. The course and all materials it provides are free.