Pastoral Recommendations for the Year of Faith
In January of last year the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a series of recommendations for the implementation of the Year of Faith. We reprint below the recommendations aimed at parishes.
1. In preparation for the Year of Faith, all of the faithful are invited to read closely and meditate upon Pope Benedict XVI's Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei.
2. The Year of Faith "will also be a good opportunity to intensify the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist". In the Eucharist, mystery of faith and source of the new evangelisation, the faith of the Church is proclaimed, celebrated and strengthened. All of the faithful are invited to participate in the Eucharist actively, fruitfully and with awareness, in order to be authentic witnesses of the Lord.
3. Priests should devote greater attention to the study of the documents of Vatican Council II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, drawing from them resources for the pastoral care of their parishes - catechesis, preaching, sacramental preparation. They should also offer cycles of homilies on the faith or on specific aspects, such as "the encounter with Christ", "the fundamental contents of the Creed", and "faith and the Church."
4. Catechists should hold more firmly to the doctrinal richness of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and, under the direction of their pastors, offer guidance in reading this precious document to groups of faithful, working toward a deeper common understanding thereof, with the goal of creating small communities of faith, and of giving witness to the Lord Jesus.
5. It is hoped that there will be a renewed commitment in parishes to the distribution of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and of other resources appropriate for families, which are true domestic churches and the primary setting for the transmission of the faith. This might be done, for example, during the blessing of homes, the baptism of adults, confirmations and marriages. This can contribute to the deepening of Catholic teaching "in our homes and among our families, so that everyone may feel a strong need to know better and to transmit to future generations the faith of all times."
6. The promotion of missions and other popular programmes in parishes and in the workplace can help the faithful to rediscover the gift of baptismal faith and the task of giving witness, knowing that the Christian vocation "by its very nature is also a vocation to the apostolate".
7. During this time, members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and of Societies of Apostolic Life are asked to work towards the new evangelisation with a renewed union to the Lord Jesus, each according to their proper charism, in fidelity to the Holy Father and to sound doctrine.
8. Contemplative communities, during the Year of Faith, should pray specifically for the renewal of the faith among the People of God and for a new impulse for its transmission to the young.
9. Associations and Ecclesial Movements are invited to promote specific initiatives which, through the contribution of their proper charism and in collaboration with their local pastors, will contribute to the wider experience of the Year of Faith. The new Communities and Ecclesial Movements, in a creative and generous way, will be able to find the most appropriate ways in which to offer their witness to the faith in service to the Church.
10. All of the faithful, called to renew the gift of faith, should try to communicate their own experience of faith and charity to their brothers and sisters of other religions, with those who do not believe, and with those who are just indifferent. In this way, it is hoped that the entire Christian people will begin a kind of mission towards those with whom they live and work, knowing that they "have welcomed the news of salvation which is meant for every man".