By Tanya Connor with CNS reports
During a visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto, Pope Benedict XVI formally entrusted to Mary the world Synod of Bishops, which begins Sunday, and the Year of Faith, which begins Thursday.
Meanwhile, Bishop McManus asked that priests and laity in the Worcester Diocese come to the Year of Faith opening Mass at St. Paul Cathedral. Other events are also being planned locally for the universal Church year.
The main ecclesial event at the Year’s beginning will be the Synod, which is dedicated to “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith,” according to the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. During this Synod, on Oct. 11, “there will be a solemn celebration of the beginning of the Year of Faith, in remembrance of the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.”
Pope Benedict’s trip to the Marian shrine about 175 miles northwest of Rome marked the 50th anniversary of Blessed John XXIII’s visit there when he was pope, to entrust Vatican II to Mary’s care.
Oct. 11 is also the 20th anniversary of the publication of the “Catechism of the Catholic Church.”
In a letter to the diocese’s priests, Bishop McManus called the council and the catechism “momentous gifts to the life of the Church in the twentieth century.”
In a Sept. 28 followup letter, he invited the priests to join him in preparing personally for the Year of Faith.
“Our faith has been challenged in many ways in the recent past, personally and institutionally,” he said. “Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will empower us as ministers of the Living Word with the courage and wisdom to renew our love for the gift of faith … [M]ay we come to know Jesus Christ more intimately each day and share with others the joy that comes from truly living our faith.”
Bishop McManus encouraged priests to concelebrate the diocese’s Year of Faith opening liturgy with him at 7 p.m. Oct. 12 at St. Paul Cathedral and invite parishioners to join them. A reception in St. Paul’s Cenacle is to follow.
At the Mass, parish representatives can pick up cards with a Year of Faith prayer adapted for the diocese, in English or Spanish, said Raymond L. Delisle, vice chancellor of operations and director of the diocesan Office of Communications. Prayer cards in other languages can be requested.
Bishop McManus’ letter said the banners parishes can pick up at the Mass are multilingual “to represent the ethnic diversity of our Catholic faithful in the Diocese of Worcester.”
The banners depict the international Year of Faith logo and the Worcester Diocese’s theme, “Celebrate the Gift,” Mr. Delisle said. He said the word “celebrate” appears in languages spoken in Catholic communities in the diocese: English, French, Italian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swahili, Twi and Vietnamese.
Various diocesan departments are working to support the new evangelization, Mr. Delisle said. The United States bishops’ website, www.usccb.org, says, “The New Evangelization calls each of us to deepen our faith, believe in the Gospel message and go forth to proclaim the Gospel.”
Year of Faith resources for personal enrichment and for parishes and schools are available on the diocesan website, www.worcesterdiocese.org.
Among resources for renewing parishes and evangelizing individuals in parish and other groups is the Parish Renewal and Evangelization team (PRAE). Bishop McManus introduced this subcommittee of the diocesan Pastoral Council to priests in a recent letter. Each month during the Year of Faith The Catholic Free Press will publish a refection from a team member as part of the evangelization effort.
The diocesan Year of Faith kick-off for youth is scheduled for 7-10 p.m. Oct. 19 at St. Rose of Lima Church, 244 West Main St., Northborough. Musician Jon Niven and his LIFT Ministries of the Archdiocese of Boston are to be featured. There is to be a talk, eucharistic adoration and music. There is no cost, and no registration is required. For more information, contact the Office for Youth Ministry at 508-929-4360.
In a talk about passing on the faith at Anna Maria College Sept. 20, Cardinal Seán O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap., noted that the Year of Faith was about to begin.
The archbishop of Boston was keynote speaker for the fall academic convocation, the culmination of the college’s 65th anniversary celebrations, which focused on what it means to be a Catholic college, said President Jack P. Calareso. This year’s theme is what it means to be a person of faith, he said.
Assumption College is in the process of planning events for the Year of Faith, in collaboration with the diocese, through a committee of Assumptionists, lay members of the college community, and a diocesan representative, said Assumptionist Father Dennis Gallagher, committee chairman and the college’s vice president for mission.
Opening Masses for the Year of Faith are scheduled for 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Oct. 14 in the college’s chapel, he said. He said the St. John’s Bible the college recently acquired will probably be used for readings.
“Restless Heart,” a new movie about St. Augustine, patron of the Augustinians of the Assumption, is to be shown the beginning of next semester, he said.
Christ the King Parish in Worcester and The Catholic Free Press are co-sponsoring “Restless Heart,” to be shown at 7 p.m. Oct. 16 at Showcase Cinemas Worcester North, 135 Brooks St. Tickets, at $10 each, can be obtained by contacting the parish at email@example.com or 508-754-5361.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, is to speak about the new evangelization at Assumption College next September, Father Gallagher said.
The college’s Ecumenical Institute is seeking to sponsor something ecumenical for the Year of Faith, he said. Also in the works is a seminar about the documents and themes of Vatican Council II.
A parish is also focusing on the council. A series called “The Spirituality of Vatican II” is being held Tuesdays from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Oct. 9-Dec. 11 in St. Richard of Chichester Church, 4 Bridge St., Sterling. Presenters are Father James M. Steuterman, pastor; Roger Racine, a parishioner, and Father Richard P. Lewandowski, a retired priest of the diocese.
St. Joseph Parish in Charlton already held three talks about Vatican Council II, and Holy Family Parish in Worcester held a three-day mission about faith.
Father Tomasz J. Borkowski, WPI campus minister, is leading a Bible study called, “Faith Nourished by the Word: Exploring Christmas Stories in the Gospels.” It began Wednesday and is to continue on Wednesdays from 7 to 8:30 p.m. through Nov. 7 at the Family Life Center of St. Rose of Lima in Northborough, the parish where Father Borkowski is in residence. (There is no session Oct. 31.) Father Borkowski is to discuss the general Theology and major themes in the different Gospels.
Father Borkowski and Rabbi Steven Schwarzman, of Congregation Beth Israel in Worcester, are leading a Year of Faith interfaith trip to the Holy Land Feb. 25-March 8, 2013. For more information call 508-826-6181.
The Benedictines of Petersham are offering a free-of-charge Year of Faith reflection Oct. 20. The public is invited to pray with the nuns of St. Scholastica Priory and the monks of St. Mary’s Monastery in their chapel at 1 and 3 p.m. .
The Year of Faith ends Nov. 24, 2013, the Feast of Christ the King.