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Year of Faith Pastoral Letter 2013

Year of Faith Pastoral Letter 2013

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Published by arulforyou
Year of Faith Pastoral Letter 2013
Year of Faith Pastoral Letter 2013

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07/25/2013

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BishopThomas J. Olmsted Auxiliary BishopEduardo A. Nevares
Blest Are They Who Believe
A pastoral letter on the occasion o the Year o Faith.Promulgated on Sept. 14, 2012.
Introduction
Throughout the 2,000-year history o our Church,
the unique and central proclamation o our aith hasbeen based on a personal encounter with the living God
– the God who created us in love and unoldedHis plan or us throughout the narrative o salvationhistory. In His Son, He took on our esh, suereddeath or our sins, and rose rom the dead so that wemight rise with Him to everlasting lie.
1
Our Catholicaith is a celebration o this unique encounter, demon-strated throughout the world by the victorious saintsin heaven, and us pilgrims here on earth who seek toknow, love, and serve our Lord Jesus Christ. In every age, the Church brings together the aithul, callingthem to conversion, strengthening them through the
1. c 1 Cor 15:20
Sacraments, and sending them to serve in His vine- yard. But or every aithul pilgrim, it is always neces-sary to deepen and sometimes even to revitalize ourrelationship with God and His Church. It belongs toeach generation to “rediscover the journey o aith soas to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewedenthusiasm o the encounter with Christ.”
2
For thisreason the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI declaredthat the Universal Church will celebrate this “Year o Faith,” a year dedicated to renewed and concentratedeorts on proclaiming, teaching, and deending thetruth, beauty, and goodness o our aith in Christ. Aswe also commemorate the 50th anniversary o theopening o the Second Vatican Council, we will high-light the many conciliar and post-conciliar documents
2. Porta Fidei para 2
that “have lost nothing o their value or brilliance.”
3
We invite all the Catholic aithul, as well as our sepa-rated brothers and sisters in Christ, to participate inthe Year o Faith by an “authentic and renewed conver-sion to the Lord, the one Savior o the world.
4
 This Pastoral letter contains two distinct yet con-nected parts. Part I is addressed to all the aithul andoutlines the six principle ways in which all Catholicscan enter into this special year. Part II highlights thespecifc ways that we invite the aithul through theirvarious vocations to celebrate the Year o Faith. It isour hope that you will prayerully read Part I and alsothe section in Part II that pertains to your state o lie.
3. John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte (6 January 2001), 57: AAS 93 (2001)4. Porta Fidei para 6
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
“G
o into the whole world and proclaim the good news to all creation,Jesus said, “The man who believes in it and accepts baptism will besaved; the man who reuses to believe in it will be condemned”(Mk 16:15). What a dierence it makes to believe in God. When aith isabsent, the Lord’s work is hampered: “Jesus did not work many mighty deeds there because o their lack o aith” (Mt 13:58). When aith is active,it can move mountains, or nothing is impossible with God. Faith, whichopens the door o our heart to Christ, is a great git rom Him, a ree deci-sion on our part, and a major orce or shaping our individual lives andindeed the history o the world.
Part One: To All The Faithful
T
hroughout the Diocese o Phoenix, there willbe increased opportunities or all believers tocelebrate our aith during this important year.In union with the Holy Father, and in solidarity withCatholics throughout the world, we are calling each o the aithul to participate in the Year o Faith in the ol-lowing ways:1. Sincere, personal proession o aith.2. Renewed participation in the Liturgy.3. Increased study o Scripture and the Catechism.4. Reection on the history o aith.5. Intensifed witness o charity.6. Fostering and promoting vocations to the priest-hood and consecrated lie.A special Diocesan website has been created to assistthe aithul in their celebration o this grace-flled year (www.CatholicFamilyPrayer.org). You can alsovisit the unique sites created by the Vatican (www.annusidei.va/content/novaevangelizatio/en.html)and the U. S. Conerence o Catholic Bishops (www.usccb.org/belies-and-teachings/how-we-teach/new-evangelization/year-o-aith) to help them ully engagein the Year o Faith.
1. The Profession of Faith
In their encounter with Christ, Christians seek toconorm themselves to Him and grow in aith (c Rom12:2). The heart o evangelization, and the dynamism o the New Evangelization, is this personal encounter thatmakes Christians authentic witnesses to the love thatChrist has or each one o us. This personal relationshipwith Christ compels us to share Him with others: “It isthe love o Christ that flls our hearts and impels us toevangelize.”
5
In this Year o Faith, Pope Benedict XVIcalls each o the aithul
“to proess the aith in ullnessand with renewed conviction, with condence andhope,”
rediscovering the content o aith that we cel-ebrate, live, and believe.
6
Throughout the Diocese, theaithul and all those who serve our parishes and apos-tolates will be given opportunities to publicly proesstheir aith in the Risen Lord. This proession will meanwe are re-committing ourselves to a deeper relationshipwith Christ and His Church, as well as to the task o proclaiming the Good News in our “homes… amongour amilies… so that everyone may eel a strong needto know better and… transmit to uture generations theaith o all times.”
75. Porta Fidei para 7 (c. 2 Cor 5:14)6. Porta Fidei para 97. Porta Fidei para 8
2. Renewed Participationin the Sacraments
In a special way, all the aithul are called to a renewedsense o awe o and increased participation in the holy mysteries.
Our entrance into the aith through the savingwaters o Baptism should be ardently celebrated andremembered throughout our pilgrim journey o aith.Every Catholic should know and celebrate the day o their Baptism as their “birth into new lie.”
8
Parishesshould renew their eorts to educate persons o all agesabout this oundational sacrament as well as to prepareparents and uninitiated adults or entrance into the sav-ing waters o Baptism.
The Sacrament o Confrmation builds on ourBaptism, perecting Baptismal grace, rooting us moredeeply in the Holy Spirit, and increasing our relation-ship with God as His sons and daughters.
9
The out-pouring o the Holy Spirit in the sacrament seals uswith His gits o Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding,Counsel, Piety, Fortitude, and Fear o the Lord. Duringthis special Year, we must be more aware o and opento these gits, asking God to reawaken within us anappreciation or the proound role o the Holy Spiritin our lives.
8. CCC12779. c CCC1316
I
 
The Sacrament o theEucharist has always been andremains the “source and summit” o our aith.
Throughour participation in the Eucharist, we witness theproound love o Christ,
who suered and conquereddeath or our sins to bring us to everlasting lie. His realand substantial Presence in the Eucharist renews andstrengthens us so that we may aithully serve as Hissons and daughters. For this reason, the Year o Faithcalls each one o us in a particular way to witness toChrist’s presence in the Eucharist and to receive Holy Communion more requently and worthily.
The Sacraments o Service – the vocations o Marriage and Holy Orders – are particularly importantin our society, yet perhaps the most oten misunder-stood. Married couples, priests, deacons, and conse-crated men and women are all called to witness thelove o God in their particular vocation. During theYear o Faith, those who have received or are preparingto receive these sacraments should reect upon andunderstand with greater clarity how they reveal the loveo God to the world.
The Sacraments o Healing – Reconciliation andthe Anointing o the Sick – remind us o the ever pres-ent need we have or God in our lives. In all believ-ers, the Year o Faith should bring orth a deeperrecognition o our need or God’s healing grace andincreased desire to seek God’s mercy in the Sacramento Conession. Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that,
“theNew Evangelization begins in the conessional.”
10
Ina society that oten conuses reedom with licentious-ness, recognizing the reality o our brokenness helpsus not only to better understand the objective natureo sin that wounds our relationship with God and oneanother, but also to increase our confdence in God’smercy and redemption. The authority given by Christto all priests to orgive sins in His name (Jn 20: 22-23) isa great treasure o the Church. During the Year o Faith,this treasure o requent reception o the Sacrament o Conession should be rediscovered with great joy andthankulness. This year should also be an opportunity to grow in our understanding and appreciation o theAnointing o the Sick. In this sacrament, Christ thehealer makes His ever present grace particularly palpa-ble in the believer – a grace to strengthen, support, andencourage those who have a serious illness, who havegrown weak because o aging, or who are undergoing aserious medical procedure. Scripture reveals the uniquerole o our belie in Christ’s willingness and ability toheal us. In this Year, all believers, and especially thosewho have received or will receive the Sacrament, shouldcontemplate the meaning o this grace given duringtimes o exceptional suering.
 3. Study of Scripture andParticipation in Catechesis
“Faith is choosing to stand with the Lord so as tolive with Him. This ‘standing with Him’ points towardsan understanding o the reasons or believing.”
11
Understanding the aith requires reading, listening,and praying with God’s word in Holy Scripture, as wellas studying how God has revealed Himsel throughthe teachings o the Church. For this reason, the study o Scripture and the participation in catechesis areupheld as a necessary aspect o both “standing withHim” and “living with Him.” We call all Catholics tomore deeply all in love with Christ by listening to Hisvoice proclaimed through Scripture and Tradition. Arenewed and more ardent study o the aith “direct-
10. Papal Address on Sacrament o Conession March 12, 201211. Porta Fidei para 10
ed towards the love that never ends”
12
is necessary or a more enthusiastic and joy-flled aith in Christand His Church. The aithul should read the SacredScriptures, the Catechism, and the documents o theChurch’s Magisterium, both individually and as a am-ily, and they should seek out and participate in themany opportunities or Scripture study and catechesisthrough local parishes and the Diocese.
 4. The History of our Faith
Scripture speaks o salvation as an ongoing, ever pres-ent reality. St. Paul’s says, “or our salvation is nearernow than when we frst believed” (Rom 13:11). In thisway,
 we can say that we have been saved, that we arebeing saved, and that we will be saved through Christour Lord.
In other words, the history o Salvation asanticipated and perected in Sacred Scripture contin-ues through God’s saving plan or each o us today. By “retracing the history o our aith,” we can “highlightthe great contribution o men and women have made…through the witness o their lives,” and recognize thepersonal “continuing work o conversion” that is stillnecessary.13 During this Year o Faith, we must recallthe salvifc activity o Christ through:1. His Church, in His apostles, “who earlessly pro-claimed to all the joy o the resurrection,”
14
andin His disciples, “who ormed the frst community around the teaching o the Apostle,
15
 2. in His Martyrs, who gave their lives in service o the Gospel,
16
 3. in His men and women consecrated, who leave allthings behind to be concrete signs o waiting orthe Lord,
17
 4. in people o aith throughout the centuries, “whohave conessed the beauty o ollowing the LordJesus herever they were called to bear witness,”
18
 5. and to us who live now or Christ and as His wit-nesses in the world.
19
Improving our knowledge o the history o theCatholic aith comes through prayer and study, read-
12. CCC para 2513. Porta Fidei para 1314. Porta Fidei para 13 E15. Porta Fidei para 13 F16. Porta Fidei para 13 G17. Porta Fidei para 13 H18. Porta Fidei para 13 I19. Porta Fidei para 13 J
ing and learning rom the Magisterium, as well as romsolid teachers and texts about Scripture, Church history,the lives o the saints, and major fgures in Catholic lie(past and present).
 5. The Witness of Charity 
“Above all, put on love, which binds everythingtogether in perect harmony” (Col 3:14). Since aith andcharity support each other, the Year o Faith should bedirected towards intensiying the witness o charity.
20
 
The evidence o our aith is ound in the way that welove as Christ loved,
that we serve as Christ served. Ouraith must be witnessed and supported by our actions.
21
 The Church’s concrete witness to charity in truth hasbeen and continues to be a vibrant light or a secularworld that doubts we can “serve without counting thecost.”
22
During this Year o Faith, individuals, parishes,apostolates and movements are called to clearly witnesscharity in truth through service in Christ’s name.
6. Fostering Vocations
It is the call o each Christian to ardently “ask themaster o the harvest to send out laborers or his har-vest” (Mt 9:38). In addition to our prayers, we – asparents, extended amily, riends, teachers, coaches,group leaders, etc. – are called to oster vocations tothe clergy and consecrated lie by helping young peoplediscern their calling to a state in lie. Both through thelove witnessed in the amily and in our Church com-munities, youth and young adults gain the courage tolisten or and accept God’s plan or their lives. OurHoly Father Benedict XVI reminds us that “amilies arenot only the privileged place or human and Christianormation; they can also be “the primary and mostexcellent seed-bed o vocations to a lie o consecrationto the Kingdom o God.
23
It is our hope that the homeand parish be places “where vocations are careully discerned and their authenticity tested, places where young men and women are oered wise and strongspiritual direction.”
24
During this Year o Faith, let usrenew our eorts to pray and oster vocations to thepriesthood and consecrated lie in our homes and par-ish communities.
20. Porta Fidei para 1421. C. Jas 2:14-1822. Prayer o St. Ignatius o Loyola.23. World Day o Prayer or Vocations, 201224. World Day o Prayer or Vocations, 2012
October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013
 www.catholicfamilyprayer.org
II
J.D. Long-García/CATHOLIC SUN
 
Part Two: To Specific Groups
ecognizing the unique and varied roles o theaithul throughout the Diocese, we wish to iden-tiy some practical ways that each can participatein the Year o Faith, given their particular state o lie.
Marriage and Family Life
1. To Married Couples
We would like to address our mothers and athers,the leaders o the Domestic Church in our diocese,
25
the “frst and abiding catechists” in teaching the aith tochildren. A trustworthy tradition in the Church, derivedrom the teaching o the great saint and Doctor o theChurch, St. Augustine calls you the “regents” o your“little church” as husband and wie, ather and mother.You are not called to a mediocre, passive existence in theChurch. Rather, you have an indispensable mission inthe New Evangelization. The oten quiet and thanklessmission o prayerully building a home ull o love andlie, and bringing up your children to “know, love andserve God in this lie and to be happy with Him oreverin the next”
26
is not orgotten. It causes rejoicing inheaven, and in our own heart as your Bishops.
We wishthis segment o the Year o Faith Pastoral Letter toencourage and challenge you personally.There is no greater concern to the Church than thehealth and fourishing o her marriages and amilies.
Much conusion in our time is spread daily about thenature o marriage and the amily, which is the frstsociety created directly by God. In the frst chapter o Genesis, we see the beautiul image o God shown in thecreation o man as “male and emale” (Gen 1:27). Andwe hear the blessing o God Himsel who calls them to“be ruitul and multiply” (Gen 1:28) instituting thepermanent, aithul, loving relationship o husbandand wie. But this beautiul design instituted by Godand His plan or marriage is so attacked, so ridiculed,so undermined, and so manipulated by orces withinour society. Why? We must see here nothing less thana masterul spiritual attack rom the “ather o lies”(John 8:44), who deals in distortion, manipulation, anddiscouragement. Make no mistake; the Church deendsmarriage and the amily, including its public defnitionin law, not because she is somehow determined to orceher “private opinion” on all members o society. She hasneither power nor desire to do this. Rather, the Churchmakes this lively and hope-flled deense in the humbleconfdence that she is deending God’s plan or His cre-ation, and that no society can long survive the neglecto the amily or the erosion o marriage.
 The Ultrasound our  world needs today 
We are convinced that while we ace difcult times inour Church, we are also on the cusp o a “new spring-time” or marriage and the amily. How so? Here wewish to oer an analogy and a challenge. Much like theultrasound which gives a couple the privilege o seeingtheir child “knit in the mother’s womb” (Ps 139:13), thedomestic church oers a revelatory moment to society about the truth and beauty o God’s plan or marriageand the amily. These truths about the dignity o humanlie and the sanctity o marriage are written on theheart, and lies can never hold in the ace o the truth.Every human heart longs to know the truth, and many respond in respect and awe when the truth is revealed
25. Lumen Gentium, para 1126. Baltimore Catechism Question #6.
in all its integrity and ullness. The ultrasound has giventhe pre-born human person his revelatory moment,much like the Domestic Church is called to witness insociety to God’s aithulness to His people, His abun-dant and ruitul love, and the goodness o His plan ormarriage and the amily.In this Year o Faith, we need you, as the leaders o our domestic churches in the Diocese o Phoenix, tobe an ultrasound or the truth o marriage and theamily! As the “real presence” o the child on display inultrasound images preaches the Gospel o Lie clearly and convincingly – yet without words – we urge you topray, to ask or God’s healing and miraculous interven-tion o peace and truth so that you and your amily willinspire aith and will become more and more an “icon”o love and lie in the world. You will in this way, littleby little, be ormed by our God, who is Love, into abeautiul, convincing work o art in the potter’s hands,radiating lie and love. Lies and distortions, with whichthe evil one begins his work o destruction, will simply all apart in the ace o more marriages alive in ChristJesus, radically open to the will o the Father, ueled by the Holy Spirit, and sacramentally saturated with gracein His Church.In this Year o Faith, we urge you to reect upon andpray more or your mission in the Domestic Church,especially how living this mission inspires aith in both your immediate and extended communities. Living thismission, you will be “caught up into Divine Love”
27
and be inheritors o the prophetic promise called orin the Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes, that“authentic conjugal love will be more highly prized, andwholesome public opinion created about it i Christiancouples give outstanding witness to aithulness andharmony in their love, and to their concern or educat-ing their children.” In this way,
the Domestic Church will be or the “renewal on behal o marriage and theamily.”
28
Even in times o great difculty and pain, in timeso separation and strie, Christ is present to strength-en, heal, and enrich the vocation o marriage. Eventremendous difculties o hurt, disillusionment, andeconomic hardships in marriage can, and indeed mustbe, embraced as Christ embraced the cross, out o cov-enantal love. This is the whole Christian dierence. Itis o vital and paradoxical signifcance that the altar atMass has a crucifx present, the image which the worldfnds hopeless and a sign o ailure. Yet in aith, we know our Lord’s crucifxion and death to be the moment o deepest victory. Your marriage, handling times o trialand suering with grace and perseverance, will be ormany the truest evidence o beauty, the real proo thatChristian marriage is indeed “caught up into DivineLove” because it is built on rock, not sand (c. Mat7:24-29). Particularly in this Year o Faith, your very existence as married couples and amilies, especially intimes o suering, is a powerul sign o aithul love tothe world.Witnesses o the holiness and goodness o marriagemay seem lacking in today’s society, but in every gen-eration, heroic witnesses o marital and paternal fdelity shine brightly. Consider, or example, the love betweenLuis and Zélie Martin (the parents o St. Thérèse o Lisieux) whose witness o love modeled that o Christor His Church, nurturing a simple and beautiul piety in their daughters who are now celebrated and imitatedthroughout the world. Consider, too, the love o PierLuigi and Gianna Molla and the grace o the sacramento marriage which sustained them throughout theirtrials, preparing them to make the ultimate sacrifce inorder to bring their daughter into the world.Every marriage will undergo difculties. Thereore,
27. Guadium et Spes, para 4828. Guadium et Spes, para 49
we urge you to surround yourselves with other marriedcouples, who can afrm the sacredness o this vocation.During this Year o Faith, reach out to new couples in your neighborhood, parish, and/or school(s) o yourchildren. Seek help when difculties arise - assistancerom your pastor, rom solid counselors who under-stand and deend the sacramental nature o marriage,and rom programs provided at the diocesan and parishlevels or the renewal and healing o marriage.I you are not sacramentally married, we urge you tomove toward a remedy or this during this Year o Faithby contacting your parish, and perhaps beginning themarriage preparation process. This process, recently strengthened in our Diocese, will help you to under-stand the richness and beauty o the call to Christianmarriage, as well as your mission to bear witness in theworld through a joy-flled marriage. In some lie situ-ations, such as divorce and remarriage without annul-ment o the previous union, it may be very difcult tohear and act on what is needed to remedy the matter.Please know that we are here or you, and encourage you to take the steps necessary to avail yoursel o theriches God has prepared or you in the sacrament o Marriage.
 Three Fundamental Helpsto Parents
In this section, we wish to emphasize three areaswhich the “Giver o good gits” (c. Jas 1:17) oers to theleaders o the domestic church in order to strengthenthem in their weekly walk o aith. Like all gits, they must be unwrapped and used, and as the lead catechistso your home, your mission is to assure the unwrappingand the ull and proper use o the gits or your chil-dren. The parish is there to assist you, to be in solidarity with your work o evangelization and catechesis o yourchildren, but it is your own sacred honor to assure yourchildren’s education in the aith. None o these threegits is novel, and none will surprise, but as air, ood,and water are essential to the body, there are essentialsto the spiritual lie o the Catholic home. These threegits are:1. Keeping the Sabbath,2. Establishing and protecting the Family Meal, and3. Family Prayer.
Keeping the Lord’s Day 
In many amilies today, there is a great need to
rediscover the sanctity o Sunday 
and the keeping o the Sabbath. The Catechism o the Catholic Churchteaches, “The Sunday Eucharist is the oundation andconfrmation o all Christian practice.
29
Without regu-lar Sunday worship, our lie in Christ can barely sur-vive, and our aith will suer on many levels. Fromthe beginning, God set aside one day o the week to bedierent rom the others. He called it the Sabbath, andhe intended it to be a day or rest and amily worship.
29. CCC #2181
Blest Are They Who Believe
III
Saabi, Galbe.Com/CNS

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