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Thursday, January 5, 2012


VATICAN CITY, 5 JAN 2012 (VIS) - A communique was published today containing information about a "Note with pastoral recommendations for the Year of Faith" which, by order of the Holy Father, has been prepared by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in consultation with other dicasteries of the Holy See, and with the help of the Committee for the Preparation of the Year of Faith. The Note is dated 6 January, Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, and will be made public on Saturday 7 January.

  Today's communique explains that, with his Apostolic Letter "Porta fidei" of 11 October 2011, Benedict XVI declared a Year of Faith, due to begin on 11 October, fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II, and to conclude on 24 November 2013, Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Universal King. The introduction to the Note states that "the Year of Faith is intended to contribute to a renewed conversion to the Lord Jesus and to the rediscovery of faith, so that the members of the Church will be credible and joy-filled witnesses to the Risen Lord, capable of leading those many people who are seeking it to the door of faith".

  The beginning of the Year of Faith coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II, and the twentieth of the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "two great events which have marked the life of the Church in our days", the communique says. "The Year of Faith will be a propitious occasion to make Vatican Council II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church more widely and deeply known".

  The pastoral recommendations contained in the Note aim "to aid both the encounter with Christ through authentic witnesses to faith, and the ever-greater understanding of its contents". All members of the Church are invited to work to ensure that, during the Year of Faith, we may rediscover and "share that which is most dear to us: Christ Jesus, the Redeemer of mankind". The communique further explains that those pastoral recommendations do not intend to preclude "other initiatives which the Holy Spirit will inspire among Pastors and faithful in various parts of the world".

  The Note divides its recommendations into four groups: (1) Universal Church, (2) episcopal conferences, (3) dioceses and (4) parishes, communities, associations and movements. Some of the specific suggestions it contains are outlined in the communique.

  "Along with the solemn opening celebration for the Year of Faith and other events in which the Holy Father will participate (Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, WYD 2013), various ecumenical initiatives are being planned 'aimed at the restoration of unity among all Christians'. Moreover 'there will be a solemn ecumenical celebration in which all of the baptised will reaffirm their faith in Christ'.

  "On the level of episcopal conferences, attention will be given to the quality of catechesis, and efforts will be made to examine 'local catechisms and various catechetical supplements in use in the particular Churches … to ensure their complete conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church'. It is also hoped that use will be made of the language of the mass media and art, with 'television and radio transmissions, films and publications focusing on the faith, its principles and content, as well as on the ecclesial significance of Vatican Council II'.

  "At the diocesan level, the Year of Faith is considered, among other things, as an occasion for 'renewed creative dialogue between faith and reason in the academic and artistic communities, through symposia, meetings and days of study, especially at Catholic universities', and as a favourable time for 'penitential celebrations … in which all can ask for God's forgiveness, especially for sins against faith'.

  "At the parish level the focus remains on the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist, because 'in the Eucharist, mystery of faith and source of the new evangelisation, the faith of the Church is proclaimed, celebrated and strengthened'. It is on this foundation that other initiatives will come into being, develop and spread, particularly those undertaken by Institutes, new Communities and Ecclesial Movements.

  "'A Secretariat to coordinate all of the different initiatives promoted by various dicasteries of the Holy See, or other events relevant to the Universal Church, will be established within the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation'. The Secretariat 'can also suggest appropriate initiatives' for the Year of Faith, and 'will open a dedicated website with the goal of making available useful information' on the subject".
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VATICAN CITY, 5 JAN 2012 (VIS) - At 9.30 a.m. tomorrow, Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, Benedict XVI will preside at Mass in the Vatican Basilica. During the ceremony he will confer episcopal ordination upon archbishops-elect Msgr. Charles John Brown, apostolic nuncio to Ireland, and Msgr. Marek Solczynski, apostolic nuncio to Georgia and Armenia. Following Mass the Pope will pray the Angelus from the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace.

  On Sunday 8 January, Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass in the Sistine Chapel and administer the Sacrament of Baptism to a number of children. At midday he will pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.
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VATICAN CITY, 5 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Archbishop Emil Paul Tscherrig, apostolic nuncio to Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway, as apostolic nuncio to Argentina.

 - Appointed Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro, secretary of the Congregation for Bishops, as penitentiary major of the Apostolic Penitentiary. He succeeds Cardinal Fortunato Baldelli, whose resignation from the same office the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
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