What’s “The Year of Faith” All About?

In 2011 Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed that October 11, 2012, would begin “The Year of Faith.” Longer than a calendar year, The Year of Faith is set to end November 24, 2013, the Feast of Christ the King, which ends the Church liturgical year. During this time, the Pope is calling upon the faithful to renew their commitment to the Lord in the face of growing faithlessness. The Pope chose this particular date because it marks two historical moments in the Church. First — the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II), the historic assembly when the Church took a look at its engagement with the modern world and changing society. Second — the 20th anniversary of the publication of the “Catechism of the Catholic Church,” which was revolutionary in helping teach the faith to Catholics.

So, you might wonder, Why have a Year of Faith that’s not actually “one year” and why have a “Year of…” anything?

Well, whenever the Church wants to respond to a specific issue, crisis or trend, popes (and sometimes, bishops) have declared “Years” to bring special attention to the subject. Take 2009’s Year of the Family declared by the Bishop of the Diocese of Austin. It emphasized education, values and support of the family unit in the home, parish and the larger community. That same summer, Pope Benedict proclaimed the Year for Priests in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of St. John Vianney, the patron saint of priests, in order to encourage current and future priests in the time of shortage. And many U.S. dioceses proclaimed the first Sunday of Advent 2011 the beginning of a Year of the Mass as parishes employed the new translation of the Roman Missal.

Pope Benedict recommends reflection on the Creed (our profession of faith), study of the Catechism, and constant practice of true charity throughout the Year of Faith as opportunities for everyone to reenergize, rejuvenate,and even reengage their faith. BustedHalo.com has resources for all three:

  • Sacrament 101 Videos provide an introduction or refresher course to the sacraments of the Catholic Church. These videos are great personal tutorials, or can be shared with a confirmation class or other group learning more about the Catholic faith.
  • Two-Minute Videos quickly review a complicated Church subject like Advent or Pentecost. Use these videos as reminders of what these seasons of the year (and other topics) are all about.
  • Daily Inspiration and Thoughts on Faith — Every day Busted Halo® provides inspiration, challenge and reflection for your spiritual journey. Our Daily Jolts and MicroChallenges give you a quote to think about and an action to complete. Busted Halo® blogs like Convert-sation and Church and State explore the meaning of faith in our personal lives and places where we see faith and culture intersect. And articles from young adults about the transitions, struggles and questions of faith in their own lives invite readers to reflect on their spiritual journeys and engage in conversations about faith.
Fr. Steven Bell, CSP

Fr. Steven Bell, CSP, is a pastoral associate at the St. Thomas More Newman Center at The Ohio State University. Prior to this assignment, Fr. Steve was the associate director of Busted Halo. Ordained in 2008, Fr. Steve served at St. Austin’s in Austin, Texas, where he led lessons on faith for school-aged kids at summer camp and motivational talks for African-American professionals. He also led retreats and missions for young adults and other groups in the church.