Pope Benedict XVI has proclaimed a Year of Faith beginning Oct. 11, which also marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. The observance is meant “to arouse in every believer the aspiration to profess the faith in fullness and with renewed conviction, with confidence and hope,” Pope Benedict said in his apostolic letter, “Porta Fidei,” announcing the Year of Faith.
Bishop David Ricken is encouraging Catholics in the Diocese of Green Bay to participate in the Year of Faith by learning more about their faith and sharing what they learn with others. In an effort to help Catholics educate themselves and celebrate their faith, The Compass has compiled a fun, inexpensive and spiritual top 10 list of ways to observe the Year of Faith.
1: Enroll in ‘Read the Catechism in a Year’ emails
Sign up for “Read the Catechism in a Year” and get daily emails during the Year of Faith. In addition to marking the 50th anniversary of Vatican II, the Year of Faith marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Flocknote, an online Catholic resource for parishes, has created a daily email on the catechism. Simply go to www.flocknote.com/catechism, submit your email and beginning on Oct. 11, you’ll receive daily emails with excerpts from the catechism.
2: Pray the World Mission Rosary
Pope Benedict XVI wants the Year of Faith to be a worldwide time of prayer. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says the World Mission Rosary is one way to make this happen. Conceived in 1951 by Archbishop Fulton Sheen, the World Mission Rosary unites people in a spiritual communion. What makes this rosary different? The color of beads in each decade: “Each decade calls to mind an area where the church continues her evangelizing mission: green for the forests and grasslands of Africa; blue for the ocean surrounding the islands of the Pacific; white symbolizing Europe, the seat of the Holy Father, shepherd of the world; red calling to mind the fire of faith that brought missionaries to the Americas; and yellow, the morning light of the East, for Asia.”
In the words of Archbishop Sheen, the one who prays it will “embrace all continents, all people in prayer.” The World Mission Rosaries are available at www.worldmissionrosary.org.
3: Pick up ‘Catholicism’ DVD
Pick up a copy of Fr. Robert Barron’s award-winning “Catholicism” series on DVD. Fr. Barron, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago and founder of the Word on Fire Ministry, has produced 10 hour-long DVDs about Catholicism. The series was created to “educate and engage the culture,” according to Fr. Barron. Last year, the series was broadcast on many PBS stations across the country. This makes a great small-group activity or even Sunday night family viewing. “Catholicism” can be purchased for $99 at wordonfire.org.
4: Study new evangelization online
Take an online course on “Living Catholic: Foundations for the New Evangelization.” Fr. Mitch Pacwa of EWTN is hosting this interactive course, which is designed to reach Catholics looking to learn more about the Catholic faith. As a way to encourage participation in this course, the diocesan Office of Adult Faith Formation is
covering the costs for the first 100 adults who sign up. Go to www.mycatholicfaithdelivered.com/greenbay to learn more.
5: Attend the Abbey Lecture Series
The Norbertines of St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere are devoting their annual lecture series this year to the Second Vatican Council, which is one of themes of the Year of Faith. “In Celebration of Vatican II: Reading the Signs of the Times,” will kick off on Oct. 11, 6:30 to 8 p.m., with a presentation titled “The Unleashing of Hope: Vatican II and Its Aftermath.” Dr. Paul Wadell will deliver the address. The abbey is located at 1016 N. Broadway, De Pere.
The remaining dates and speakers include: Nov. 8, “Rights and Responsibilities of the Laity: Has the Church Kept Its Promise?” Sr. Shawn Madigan, CSJ, and Sr. Judy Miller, CSJ; Feb. 7, 2013, “Organizational Theory and the Roman Catholic Church,” Dr. Howard Ebert; March 21, 2013, “Engaging Our ‘Others’ in Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue,” Dr. Mara Brecht; April 11, 2013, “In Celebration of Vatican II – Panel Discussion” with Dr. Mara Brecht, Dr. Howard Ebert, Sr. Shawn Madigan, CSJ, and Sr. Judy Miller, CSJ. A freewill offering of $5 per session is suggested.
6: Attend ‘Celebrating the Lord’s Day’ lecture series
Attend Bishop David Ricken’s lecture series, “Celebrating the Lord’s Day.” Bishop Ricken will be offering four evening presentations on Pope John Paul II’s encyclical, Dies Domini (The Lord’s Day).
The Thursday lectures will be held Nov. 29, Dec. 6, Dec. 13 and Dec. 20, 6:30 to 8 p.m., at the St. Francis Xavier Conference Room on the diocesan campus in Allouez. Cost is $20 fee for the series. To register contact Shelia Schaut, (920) 272-8276; toll-free (877) 500-3580, ext. 8276; email: [email protected]
7 Sign up for catechism class
Enroll in one of the U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults (USCCA) courses sponsored by the Green Bay Diocese. In his 2011 pastoral letter, “Parishes: Called to be Holy, Fully Engaged, Fully Alive,” Bishop Ricken listed education (including lifelong faith formation) as one of six pastoral focus areas. He also encouraged use of the USCCA as a foundational source for adult faith formation programs. This year, parishes are sponsoring courses on the USCCA. To find out when and where, go to www.gbdioc.org/fcc or call the Department of Education.
8: Get free copy of Matthew Kelly’s new book
Go online and order your free copy of Matthew Kelly’s new book, “The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic.” This is the first major follow-up to Kelly’s popular “Rediscover Catholicism.” In this book, Kelly explores the differences between highly engaged Catholics and disengaged Catholics. The publisher, Dynamic Catholic Institute, is offering paperback copies free (except postage and handling) to every one. Just go to www.DynamicCatholic.com and sign up.
9: Tour diocesan pilgrimage sites
Visit the “mother church” of the Green Bay Diocese, St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, and the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. Bishop Ricken has designated the cathedral and the shrine in Champion as official Year of Faith pilgrimage sites.
According to the U.S. bishops, the “door of faith” (Acts 14:27) is opened at one’s baptism, but during the Year of Faith Catholics are called to “open it again, walk through it and rediscover and renew their relationship with Christ and his church.” What better way to rediscover and renew your faith than to visit the diocesan cathedral? And while you’re there, visit the Green Bay Diocese Museum and Cultural Center, which is located in the basement of the Bishop Wycisclo Center. The museum is a wonderful repository of hundreds of diocesan treasures. Guided tours of the Green Bay Diocese Museum and Cultural Center are by appointment only. To schedule a tour call (920) 432-4348.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help is now a nationally recognized pilgrimage site following Bishop Ricken’s Dec. 8, 2010, declaration of the Marian apparitions that took place there in 1859.
We’re asking our readers to submit suggestions on how to observe the Year of Faith. We will publish your responses in an upcoming issue. In return, The Compass, in cooperation with Word on Fire Ministry, will award copies of Fr. Robert Barron’s “Catholicism” DVD series to six award winners’ parishes. The DVD series sells for $99. (See more information above.) Readers should submit their entries via email to: [email protected] or mail to 1825 Riverside Drive, PO Box 23825, Green Bay, WI, 54305. Mark entries “Year of Faith.”