Pope Benedict XVI has proclaimed a Year of Faith beginning October 11, 2012, and concluding on November 24, 2013, the feast of Christ the King.
The start of this Year of Faith coincides with the anniversaries of three great events that have marked the life of our Church: the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, the 20th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the 80th anniversary of St. Peter’s Parish on October 3, 2013.
This special year will be a time to reflect on the gift of faith, and to deepen our knowledge and understanding of the teachings of the church. It will be a time to reflect and pray with the scriptures, and a time to strengthen our faith through the Holy Eucharist.
Because our faith is the foundation of who we are as Catholic Christians, it is important for us to focus on God’s gift of faith amid a contemporary world that continues to pull us away from our relationship with God.
This Year of Faith will be a time for us to renew our personal relationship with Jesus and recommit ourselves more fully to the Church.
In the Gospels, Jesus rebukes his apostles for having “little faith.” “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith? Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm” (Mt 8:26).
Jesus also links faith to his healing miracles. In Mark’s Gospel we meet Bartimaeus, a blind man who has heard about Jesus’ miracles and hopes that Jesus might help him recover his eyesight. “And Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way; your faith has made you well.’ And immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way” (Mk 10:52).
In the letter to the Hebrews, faith is defined as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”(Heb 11:1). And so like the apostles in Luke’s Gospel, the Year of Faith will be a time for us to cry out to Jesus, “Increase our Faith!”
A variety of spiritual activities will be offered during the Year of Faith around the diocese and in our parish. My hope is that we will grow in our commitment to God and one another. We do this when we reach out in compassion to help a neighbor in need, share our faith with others, receive the sacrament of confession, and receive Holy Communion daily or weekly.
Through the Eucharist, we will be transformed by the real presence of the risen Lord. Filled with this real presence we will be able to go forth to live more fully as his disciples.
“Faith grows when it is lived as an experience of love received and when it is communicated as an experience of grace and joy. It makes us fruitful, because it expands our hearts in hope and enables us to bear life-giving witness: indeed, it opens the hearts and minds of those who respond to the Lord’s invitation to adhere to his word and become his disciples.”
(Pope Benedict XVI, Porta Fidei Apostolic Letter, 2011, 7.)
I invite you to pray one Hail Mary every day that the Lord will increase our faith, as we journey together during this special Year of Faith.
May God bless the work that was begun in this parish almost 80 years ago, and bless our efforts to see it to completion.
Sincerely yours in Faith,
Rev. Roger C. Gagné, Pastor