Beginning this October the Church will be celebrating a Year of Faith. The beginning of the Year of Faith coincides with both the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council as well as the 20th anniversary of the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
We want this Year to arouse in every believer the aspiration to profess the faith in fullness and with renewed conviction, with confidence and hope. It will also be a good opportunity to intensify the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist, which is œthe summit towards which the activity of the Church is directed; … and also the source from which all its power flows. At the same time, we make it our prayer that believers’ witness of life may grow in credibility. To rediscover the content of the faith that is professed, celebrated, lived and prayed, and to reflect on the act of faith, is a task that every believer must make his own, especially in the course of this Year.
To that end, every Friday from today until the Year of Faith begins, I will be posting ideas for how dioceses and parishes can engage the faithful in the Year of Faith. I hope that these ideas will inspire you and your community to participate more fully in this special year.
- Live stream the opening of the Year of Faith. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in its “Note with pastoral recommendations for the Year of Faith”, recommends that dioceses hold special events to open the Year of Faith. Using web cams and a service such as UStream, a parish or diocese could very easily broadcast these events live for those people who cannot attend in person. Most of these services can also record and archive so that people can watch at a later time as well.
- Invite testimonies. Over the course of the year (maybe once per month) invite select members of your parish to give their testimony — their story of conversion, re-version, or just why they stay in the Church. These could be presented after Mass or at a special gathering during the week. Be sure to invite parishioners who are well-spoken or who have a particularly compelling story. Bonus: Record these testimonies and post them on your parish’s web site.
- Have a potluck for Mary! This one can be done by families: invite friends and fellow parishioners over to your house for a communal praying of the Rosary and potluck! These events are a great way to meet new people through food and prayer. Be sure to have a few extra plastic rosaries on hand for those who forget theirs.
Photo by ashley rose/flickrCC