About The Year Of Faith


Pope Benedict XVI opened the Year of Faith at a Mass in St Peter’s Square attended by 14 surviving Fathers of the Second Vatican Council.

The open-air Mass, which also marks the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, was preceded by a grand procession of 400 or so bishops.

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, said yesterday: “When you look at the television images of Vatican II from 50 years ago, first of all you see a big procession with all the bishops. We will repeat the same.

“It should be a moment of prayer, a moment of spirituality, and also a moment when we can take into serious consideration the teachings of Vatican II,” he said.

The papal Mass was concelebrated by bishops and theologians who, like the Pope, served as Council Fathers or experts at Vatican II.

 “The work of the Council remains our work today and our hope is that this Year of Faith and the 50th anniversary will help us to see the way in which its documents

After the Episcopal procession, the Sacred Scriptures were enthroned, just as they were in a ceremony before the Second Vatican Council. Archbishop Fisichella has said this is to “remind everyone that they were at the service of the Word of God, which lies at the heart of the Church’s activities”.

After the Mass, meanwhile, Benedict XVI will issue a series of “Messages to the People of God” in a re-enactment of Pope Paul VI’s conclusion of the Council.

The Year of Faith is intended to mark the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. During the ceremony today the Pope will present a special edition of the Catechism to two representatives of catechists, one of whom will be Dr Caroline Farey of the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham.

Meanwhile, in cathedrals through England and Wales bishops will mark the start of the Year with their own Masses. In some dioceses the Masses will be on Sunday instead of today.

The Year concludes on November 24 2013, the Solemnity of Christ the King.