A press conference was held this morning in the Holy See Press Office for the presentation of the Year of Faith which is due to last from 11 October 2012 to 24 November 2013. The conference was presented by Archbishop Rino Fisichella and Msgr. Graham Bell, respectively president and under secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation.
Archbishop Fisichella also presented the website and logo of the Year of Faith, and outlined the calendar of events due to take place in Rome during that period.
"In his Apostolic Letter 'Porta fidei' Benedict XVI speaks ... of the need to rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ", the archbishop said. "For this reason he called the Year of Faith, which will also coincide with two anniversaries: the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of Vatican Council II and the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. ... The Year of Faith aims, above all, to support the faith of believers who, in their daily trials, never cease to entrust to entrust their lives to the Lord Jesus, with courage and conviction. Their precious testimony, which does not make the news, ... is what enables the Church to present herself to the world today, as she did in the past, supported by the strength of the faith and the enthusiasm of ordinary people.
"The Year of Faith", Archbishop Fisichella added, "falls into a broader context which is characterised by a generalised crisis that also touches the faith. ... The crisis of faith is a dramatic expression of an anthropological crisis which has abandoned man to his own devices. We must overcome the spiritual poverty affecting so many of our contemporaries who do no longer perceive the absence of God from their lives as a void that needs to be filled. The Year of Faith, then, is an opportunity which the Christian community offers to the many people who feel nostalgia for God and who desire to rediscover Him".
The programme of events for the Year "touches the daily life of all believers and the ordinary pastoral care of the Christian community, in order to rediscover that genuine missionary spirit which we need in order to give life to the new evangelisation". In this context, the archbishop announced that the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has approved the formula for a special "Mass for New Evangelisation". This, he said, is a sign that during the Year of Faith "priority will be given to prayer, and especially to the Eucharist as source and summit of all Christian life".
The president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation then went on to present the logo of the Year of Faith in which the image of a ship symbolises the Church. The mast of the vessel is a cross with full-blown sails which form the monogram of Christ (IHS) and in the background is a sun representing the Eucharist. The website of the event (www.annusfidei.va) is available in various languages and can be consulted by smartphone and tablet. The Year also has an official hymn entitled: "Credo, Domine, adauge nobis fidem". A multilingual pastoral guide entitled "Living the Year of Faith" is due to be published in early September and pilgrims will receive an image of the Christ from the cathedral of Cefalu in Sicily, with the Creed written on the back.
Finally Archbishop Fisichella turned his attention to the most important events of the Year of Faith, those to be celebrated in Rome in the presence of the Holy Father: They include the opening, which "will take place in St. Peter's Square on Thursday 11 October, fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of Vatican Council II. There will be a solemn Eucharistic celebration concelebrated by the Synod Fathers, the presidents of the world's episcopal conferences and by Council Fathers who are still alive".
Sunday 21 October will see the canonisation of seven martyrs: Jacques Berthieu, Pedro Calungsod, Giovanni Battista Piamarta, Maria del Carmen (born Maria Salles y Barangueras), Kateri Tekakwitha, Maria Anna Cope, and Anna Schaffer. On 25 January 2013, during the traditional ecumenical celebration at the Roman basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, participants will pray that, "through their joint profession of the Symbol, Christians ... may not forget the path of unity". On 28 April the Holy Father will impart the Sacrament of Confirmation to a group of young people, while 5 May will be dedicated to expressions of popular piety.
On 18 May, the eve of Pentecost, Catholic movements, both old and new, will gather in St. Peter's Square. On 2 June, Corpus Christi, the Blessed Sacrament will be adored at the same time all over the world. Sunday 16 June will be dedicated to the Gospel of Life. On 7 July seminarians and novices from all over the world will conclude their pilgrimage by gathering in St. Peter's Square. The 29 September will be dedicated to catechists on the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and 13 October will focus on the presence of Mary in the Church. Finally, the closing celebration of the Year of Faith will take place on 24 November 2013.
The Year of Faith will also include a number of cultural events including an exhibition on St. Peter to be held at Castel Sant'Angelo from 7 February 2013 to 1 May 2013 and a concert in St. Peter's Square on 22 June 2013.