Pope Benedict XVI has set aside a special year for Catholics
throughout the world to rediscover, and share with others, the precious gift of
Faith entrusted to the Church and the personal gift of faith that we have each
received from God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Pope
Benedict XVI has decreed that the Catholic Church will observe the Year of
Faith between 11 October 2012 and 24 November 2013. Pope Benedict has chosen to
open the Year of Faith on the 11 October 2012 because that date is the
anniversary of two important events in the life of the Catholic Church: The
11th of October is the 5oth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican
Council (11 October 1962 – 8 December 1965).

The 11th October is also the 20th anniversary of the publication
of the Catechism of the Catholic Church by Blessed John Paul II.

The Year of Faith will close on 24 November 2013, the Solemn
Feast of Christ the King throughout the world.

Why is the anniversary of the Second Vatican Council so
important that it marks the opening of the Year of Faith?

Pope Benedict explains that though the Second Vatican Council
occurred half a century ago it remains ‘the great grace bestowed on the Church
in the twentieth century’ that is ‘ a sure compass by which to take our
bearings in the century now beginning.’

The Holy Father is also convinced that the Second Vatican
Council, if interpreted and implemented according to the mind of the Church
stretching back to the Apostles,’ can be and can become increasingly powerful
for the ever necessary renewal of the Church’. (Porta Fidei, 5).

This is why an important component of the Year of Faith will be
reflection and rediscovery of the riches contained in the texts of Vatican II.

Why is the anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of
the Catholic Church so important that it also marks the opening of the Year of

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a systematic
presentation of the Catholic Faith that enables the faithful to know the full
symphony of Faith. In the Catechism ‘ we see the wealth of teaching that
the Church has received, safeguarded and proposed in her two thousand years of
history. From Sacred Scripture to the Fathers of the Church, from theological
masters to the saints across the centuries, the Catechism provides a permanent
record of the many ways in which the Church has meditated on the faith and made
progress in doctrine so as to offer certitude to believers in their lives of
faith.’ (Porta Fidei, 11).

What are Pope Benedict’s hopes for each one of us during the
Year of Faith?

The Holy Father wants us to rediscover the journey of faith so
as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the
encounter with Christ.

He wants us to rediscover a taste for feeding ourselves on the
word of God, faithfully handed down by the Church, and on the bread of life,
offered as sustenance for his disciples (cf. Jn 6:51).

To take the opportunity to read the documents of Vatican II
correctly, help them become widely known and take them to heart as important
and normative texts of the Magisterium.

To approach the Year of Faith as a time of purification for the
Church and for individuals, a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to
the Lord.

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