Tag Archives: Year of Faith

In Christ, we share we share a single journey, a single destiny, Francis teaches

The Year of Faith closes with the Pope embracing the relics, the bones, of the Apostles who answer their human need, who broke opened their hearts to see the face of God. Peter and Paul shared in the One they loved with the world, and they presented the world with gift of salvation with whom they desired to share an incomparable journey, a destiny, as Christians, desire to share in. Francis closes a year in which we all lived with intensity of living the faith, meeting the Lord and journeying to a new knowledge and new vigor in the promise of the Hundredfold. The following is the homily delivered today in Rome where he speaks about the essentials of the faith: baptism, the Encounter and centrality of the Christ in our life and the desire for heaven.

Pope Francis with Apostles relics 2013Today’s solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, the crowning of the liturgical year, also marks the conclusion of the Year of Faith opened by Pope Benedict XVI, to whom our thoughts now turn with affection and gratitude. By this providential initiative, he gave us an opportunity to rediscover the beauty of the journey of faith begun on the day of our Baptism, which made us children of God and brothers and sisters in the Church. A journey which has as its ultimate end our full encounter with God, and throughout which the Holy Spirit purifies us, lifts us up and sanctifies us, so that we may enter into the happiness for which our hearts long.

I offer a cordial greeting to the Patriarchs and Major Archbishops of the Eastern Catholic Churches present. The exchange of peace which I will share with them is above all a sign of the appreciation of the Bishop of Rome for these communities which have confessed the name of Christ with exemplary faithfulness, often at a high price.

With this gesture, through them, I would like to reach all those Christians living in the Holy Land, in Syria and in the entire East, and obtain for them the gift of peace and concord.

The Scripture readings proclaimed to us have as their common theme the centrality of Christ. Christ as the centre of creation, the centre of his people and the centre of history.

1. The apostle Paul, in the second reading, taken from the letter to the Colossians, offers us a profound vision of the centrality of Jesus. He presents Christ to us as the first-born of all creation: in him, through him and for him all things were created. He is the centre of all things, he is the beginning. God has given him the fullness, the totality, so that in him all things might be reconciled (cf. Col 1:12-20).

This image enables to see that Jesus is the centre of creation; and so the attitude demanded of us as true believers is that of recognizing and accepting in our lives the centrality of Jesus Christ, in our thoughts, in our words and in our works. When this centre is lost, when it is replaced by something else, only harm can result for everything around us and for ourselves.

2. Besides being the centre of creation, Christ is the centre of the people of God. We see this in the first reading which describes the time when the tribes of Israel came to look for David and anointed him king of Israel before the Lord (cf. 2 Sam 5:1-3). In searching for an ideal king, the people were seeking God himself: a God who would be close to them, who would accompany them on their journey, who would be a brother to them.

Christ, the descendant of King David, is the “brother” around whom God’s people come together. It is he who cares for his people, for all of us, even at the price of his life. In him we are all one; united with him, we share a single journey, a single destiny.

3. Finally, Christ is the centre of the history of the human race and of every man and woman. To him we can bring the joys and the hopes, the sorrows and troubles which are part of our lives. When Jesus is the centre, light shines even amid the darkest times of our lives; he gives us hope, as he does to the good thief in today’s Gospel.

While all the others treat Jesus with disdain – “If you are the Christ, the Messiah King, save yourself by coming down from the cross!” – the thief who went astray in his life but now repents, clinging to the crucified Jesus, begs him: “Remember me, when you come into your kingdom” (Lk 23:42). And Jesus promises him: “Today you will be with me in paradise” (v. 43). Jesus speaks only a word of forgiveness, not of condemnation; whenever anyone finds the courage to ask for this forgiveness, the Lord does not let such a petition go unheard.

Jesus’ promise to the good thief gives us great hope: it tells us that God’s grace is always greater than the prayer which sought it. The Lord always grants more than what he has been asked: you ask him to remember you, and he brings you into his Kingdom!

Let us ask the Lord to remember us, in the certainty that by his mercy we will be able to share his glory in paradise. Amen!

Relics of St Peter, Apostle and First Pope, to be exposed

Giotto di bondone St PeterThe relics of St. Peter, Apostle and the First Pope, will be exposed in Rome for the conclusion of the Year of the Faith.

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, head of the Council for the New Evangelization, announced that in anticipation of the close of the Year of Faith on the Solemnity of Christ the King 2013, the relics of the first Bishop of Rome will be exposed.

“A final culminating sign will consist in the exposition for the first time of the relics that tradition recognizes as those of the apostle that gave his life for the Lord,” stated L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper (Nov 8, 2013).

Pope Benedict XVI instituted the Year of Faith, running from October 11, 2012 until November 24, 2013.

Exposing the remains of St. Peter will be a unique “epilogue” to the Year of Faith, insisted Archbishop Fisichella, because it “has been marked in particular by the profession of faith that millions of pilgrims have made to the tomb of Peter.”

“It will be a moment of grace and commitment to a more complete conversion to God, to strengthen our faith in Him and proclaim Him with joy to the people of our time,” the retired pontiff stated in the Fall of 2011 upon the announcement of the event.

Here is an interesting guide of St Peter’s tomb.

A New Apologetics project

In the years since Blessed John Paul introduced his desire to have new work on knowing, living, and sharing the truth of the Catholic Faith, there’s been a lot of good energy for the new evangelization. You can think of the Tear of Faith, the encyclicals of the recent popes, and most crucial has been Benedict XVI’s establishment of a Vatican office to spearhead evangelization efforts.

Getting to the heart of what the new evangelization means, how it’s supposed to “look” and why it needs our attention is slowing being revealed. I have to say that too many use the word evangelization without precision and without real content and experience. Nevertheless, since John Paul and Benedict, now with Pope Francis we have a new awareness of evangelization’s aim: and affection for Christ and to offer a reasonable proposal for faith in a comprehensive way.

I happen to think the Holy Spirit is working diligently and effectively in having us slowly develop the needed resources with regard to persons and materials. Rushing into such work would not be reasonable since it does take time to do the hard work in truly knowing the need in a time of limited resources. The immediate past Pontiff set the Church’s face on this renewed manner of living focusing us on the personal relationship with the Lord,, bridging the gap between faith and reason, and by asking us to intimately know Scripture, the Liturgy and the Magisterium (I don’t want to call the new evangelization a ‘project’ because it is about our heart and mind).

A Cambridge, Massachusetts group of faithful Catholics have responded to Church’s call for a “New Apologetics,” a new way of proposing Jesus Christ as the Way, the Truth and the Life.

“New Apologetics” is a contemporary way of engaging the questions which need to be addressed; those tough issues are often inadequately answered, or worse, dismissed as unimportant. This is a serious, beautiful adventure.

The New Apologetics is group qualified persons working to share the beauty of the truth of the Church today, in the language of today.

The New Apologetics website is www.NewApologetics.com

May Saint Thérèse of Lisieux guide this new work.

Lumen Fidei (“The Light of Faith”)

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Pope Francis published his first encyclical today. Lumen Fidei (“The Light of Faith”), comes in the middle of the Year of Faith. The Pope told bishops,  “It’s an encyclical written with four hands, so to speak, because Pope Benedict began writing it and he gave it to me. It’s a strong document. I will say in it that I received it and most of the work was done by him and I completed it.”

The full text is here: Lumen Fidei.pdf

Pope Benedict set out to write encyclicals on the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity. Two have been done and Lumen Fidei completes the course of study.

Thus Deus Caritas Est on charity in 2005 and Spe Salvi on hope in 2007. 

Pope Benedict’s, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), published in 2009 focused on Catholic social teachings of the Church.

Lumen Fidei was presented Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation of Bishops, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization. Their presentation is here in various languages.

Francis and Benedict bless statue of St Michael

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Popes Francis and Benedict at opening this morning at the blessing of a statue of Saint Michael the Archangel, near the Vatican Governorate. Pope Francis said,

“In the Vatican Gardens there are several works of art. But this, which has now been added, takes on particular importance, in its location as well as the meaning it expresses. In fact it is not just celebratory work but an invitation to reflection and prayer, that fits well into the Year of Faith. Michael – which means “Who is like God” – is the champion of the primacy of God, of His transcendence and power. Michael struggles to restore divine justice and defends the People of God from his enemies, above all by the enemy par excellence, the devil. And St. Michael wins because in him, there is He God who acts. This sculpture reminds us then that evil is overcome, the accuser is unmasked, his head crushed, because salvation was accomplished once and for all in the blood of Christ. Though the devil always tries to disfigure the face of the Archangel and that of humanity, God is stronger, it is His victory and His salvation that is offered to all men. We are not alone on the journey or in the trials of life, we are accompanied and supported by the Angels of God, who offer, so to speak, their wings to help us overcome so many dangers, in order to fly high compared to those realities that can weigh down our lives or drag us down. In consecrating Vatican City State to St. Michael the Archangel, I ask him to defend us from the evil one and banish him.”

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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