In 2013, we continue to celebrate the Year of Faith, which began in the Diocese of Raleigh on October 20, 2012, and will conclude on November 24, 2013, the Feast of Christ the King. Pope Benedict XVI declared the Year of Faith as an opportunity for every Catholic to enter into a deeper relationship with Jesus through the Sacraments and rediscover the Faith and Church with a willingness to share it.
“The Year of Faith is giving Catholics opportunities to look at faith and see new ways of practicing, learning and imparting the faith,” said Sr. Rose Marie Adams, Executive Director of Catholic Formation and Evangelization.
The Year of Faith Steering Committee, which prepared the Year of Faith Resource booklet (PDF) for the Diocese of Raleigh, divided the year into four quarters, each focusing on one of the “pillars” of faith from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Each pillar was supported by two themes. The first pillar, The Creed, began the Year of Faith during the months of October, November and December. Using the resource booklet, Diocesan parishes and schools incorporated the themes and the special focus on Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral into their activities, catechesis and celebrations. See how the faithful executed Theme I: The Church Guided by the Holy Spirit and Theme 2: Mary, the First Disciple.
January, February and March move on to Pillar II: The Sacraments. The themes supporting this pillar are the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation and Sacramentals and Popular Devotions.
During Pillar II, Sr. Rose said several parishes will host Lenten Penance Services in addition to regularly scheduled weekly Reconciliation opportunities. Students and parents in Sacramental Preparation classes at St. Thomas More in Chapel Hill will be attending a Family Retreat devoted to the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
By definition, Sacramentals are sacred signs instituted by the Church that mediate spiritual effects such as blessings, protection and peace throughout the Church (CCC 1667). Some examples are the Rosary and medals of saints. In Elizabethtown, Our Lady of the Snows Church is inviting faith formation students to bring their favorite Sacramentals to class for discussion.
Popular Devotionals and prayers are ways we permeate everyday life with prayer. Some examples are Novenas, Liturgy of the Hours and Stations of the Cross. St. Mary in Laurinburg prays the Novena to the Immaculate Conception every Wednesday and the Rosary before weekend Masses.
The special focus of Pillar II is the History of the Diocese of Raleigh. “Every person in the Diocese should know when and how, through God’s grace, our Diocese was founded,” said Sr. Rose. The history of the Diocese can be found in the Year of Faith Resource booklet.
In addition to parish participation in the Year of Faith, Diocesan Catholic Schools are also participating. Among the activities taking place at Cathedral School in Raleigh will be a History of the Diocese Quiz Bowl during Catholic Schools Week. “We look at Year of Faith as a pep rally for faith for our children,” said Cathedral School Principal Mrs. Donna Moss.