On October 11, 2012 the Catholic Church officially begins its celebration of the Year of Faith. To celebrate the occasions of the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI leads the faithful in a three-fold mission for the next year. (If you haven’t begun at all, no worries; it’s actually a little more than a year.) Especially this year, we are called to know the Christian faith, to live the faith with every breath, and to generously share the faith. Let’s begin with some ideas for getting to know the faith a little (or a lot) better.
As the year begins, take some time to make a plan. Be intentional about soaking up the graces that come with an entire year focused on faith. Seize the opportunity to really do this thing. As a family, how will you grow in your knowledge of the faith? Begin with a Bible for everyone. My preferred adult Bible is the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible. It’s just the New Testament for now, but I know I will fill in with lots of Old Testament study praying the Liturgy of the Hours. For teens, Amy Welborn has the wonderful Prove It! Catholic Teen Bible. For children, My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories is absolutely perfect for the Year of Faith. There are Bible stories, Catechism lessons, and notes on devotions, all woven into an engaging book with charming illustrations. Finally, I encourage you to commit to setting aside some time every week for Family Night. Jeff and Emily Cavins have a valuable online resource for a weekly family Bible study that will bring the Mass readings of the week to life and bring the family together.
What better way to celebrate the anniversary of the Catechism than to read the Catechism? It seems a daunting task to tackle on one’s own. The folks at Flocknote have made it simpler and less lonely. Every morning, they will send you an email with just a bit of the Catechism to read that day. You can stop there, or you can click a little further and join an online discussion about the topic at hand. It’s all free and it couldn’t be much simpler to get going and take part in a movement that was already 27,000 strong the day before the Year of Faith began.
If you are up for a full-fledged course that you can access from the comfort of your couch, check out the free Pillars of Catholicism online course offered by John Paul the Great University. If you’d prefer not to use an online resource, you might enjoy watching the ten part Catholicism DVD series from Word on Fire.
For those who would rather hold a book-based resource, Fr. Mitch Pacwa has written The Year of Faith: A Bible Study Guide for Catholics. Designed to use in a group or alone, this book seeks to foster conversion, growth in faith, and friendship with Jesus. Fr. Pacwa aims to show us how to integrate every component of life into a meaningful, faith-filled whole. One of our family’s most trusted resources also lends itself to a daily study. Alone or as a family, you can work your way through the excellent Catholic Christianity by Peter Kreeft, just a little at a time, every day with breakfast.
Many will recognize a beloved resource in Magnificat. For the Year of Faith, Magnificat has published a comprehensive, page-a-day booklet designed to strengthen the life of faith. Each day features one of eight cornerstones of the Catholic Faith: faith profiles, the Word of God, Catechism, devotions, essays, meditations, prayers, and poems. Finally, as the year progresses, I encourage you to check in at Patheos online. There is a dedicated year of Faith portal which will be curated all year long, ensuring that we will never be in need of food for thought and prayer.