The Year of Faith 2013

Father Keith says......

The Year of Faith actually began on October 11th 2012, with the publication of Benedict XVI’s apostolic letter ‘Porta Fidei’, ‘The door of Faith’. A significant date, marking the 50th anniversary of the of the opening of the 2nd Vatican Council, whose deliberations were to have far reaching consequences not only for  the universal church but all Christian people. As traditionalists in the Church of England, the year of Faith gives us much food for thought as we go forward into an uncertain future. It certainly provides us with the opportunity to renew our own personal faith and affirm and celebrate it with all those who share the apostolic  faith believed throughout the ages.

With so many difficulties facing us in the church, we may have lost sight of the very real task entrusted to us by our Lord, which is to proclaim our Faith to the world so that others may come to know him too. To proclaim the Faith we must surely seek to know and understand what we believe if we are to convince others? Benedict makes all this quite clear urging  believers who have already entered ‘the door of faith’ to see the inexhaustible store of riches ‘opened’ to us, riches that we can draw on if we want to be credible witnesses to the Risen Lord and lead others to cross ’the threshold’ of the same ’door’.

It's hard being a believer in the modern world, and Benedict speaks of the Church being ’like a stranger in a foreign land’, however he reminds us we have ’ the consolations of God’ and in the power of the Risen Lord, the Church is given ‘strength to overcome impatience in love and  meet the sorrows and difficulties both within the Church and that she may reveal in the world, faithfully, though with shadows, the mystery of her Lord.’ From this perspective, the ‘Year of Faith’ is a summons to all believers to be converted anew to Jesus Christ, for in the mystery of Our Lord’s death and resurrection God has revealed a love that saves us and calls us to conversion of life through the forgiveness of our sins. Our baptism was only the beginning for us, our faith is not just words and credal formulas, important as  they are to orthodox Christians, for as Benedict states ’the content to be believed is not sufficient unless the HEART, the authentic sacred space within the person, is opened by a grace that allows the eyes to see below the surface..’

The Year of Faith is not just about ourselves, its about proclamation, and Benedict speaks of the many people out there who ‘while not claiming to have the gift of faith, are nevertheless sincerely searching for the ultimate meaning and definitive truth about their lives and the world.’ We want to help them he says, asserting that all human beings ’have an inborn hunger for God.’  Yes the Church has a task to evangelise and for Forward in Faith members, that task must begin in our parishes! We might be afraid of this task, but not only does our love of Christ compel us but as we rediscover our own joy in believing during this Year of Faith we will find too a fresh enthusiasm for communicating our faith to others.

Holding on to our faith and affirming it afresh, proclaiming that faith to others because of our love for Christ, Benedict brings his apostolic letter to a close with an exhortation to translate our faith into action as we engage with the world. He speaks of the Year of Faith as a good opportunity to intensify our witness of caring for those who are vulnerable, hungry or in need of justice, for he says ‘faith without charity bears no fruit.’ Our faith ‘will help us to recognise the face of the Risen Lord in those who ask for love.’

Above all, in this Year of Faith, he concludes, we must ‘keep our gaze fixed on Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our Faith (Hebrews 12:2) for in him we will find that all the longing of the human heart finds fulfilment, ‘the joy of love, the answer to the drama of suffering and pain, the power of forgiveness....the victory of life over death.’ We do so, he says, ‘entrusting this time of grace, to the Mother of God about whom we say ‘Blessed is she who believed.’ (Luke 1:45)


Heavenly Father
you have called us to pass through the
door of faith into the fullness of life, and
have shown us that faith bears fruit in hope and in love.
Arouse in us a deep desire for these gifts
which your Son bestows upon all who
come to him.
Help us to understand his teaching;
proclaimed by the Apostles, confirmed by
the Spirit, alive in the Scriptures, active in
the Church, professed in the Creeds.
Increase in us the love that casts out fear,
that the whole Church may profess the faith
with confidence and joy.
Enable us to hold open the door of faith,
with its promise of salvation, to all people.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
your Son, who lives and reigns with you in
the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for
ever and ever. Amen

We should commit ourselves to the year of faith by saying the prayer every day and joining in the great celebration of faith with the Bishop of Winchester on October 26th at Winchester Cathedral