Bishop John C. Wester will open the Year of Faith Oct. 11 with a prayer service at noon in the Cathedral of the Madeleine, 309 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City. All are invited. The service will be about 30 minutes.
SALT LAKE CITY — In response to the Year of Faith called by Pope Benedict XVI, the Diocese of Salt Lake City has scheduled several events.
The year begins Oct. 11, the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council, and ends next Nov. 24, the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King.
The Most Rev. John C. Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City, likened the event to a Jubilee Year. "These kinds of celebrations are renewals; they’re opportunities for us to deepen our faith," he said.
During the Year of Faith, Catholics are asked to focus on three aspects: catechesis, to deepen their faith; the liturgy, to celebrate their faith; and charity, to live their faith.
"All of these things together, I think, are going to combine to give the Holy Spirit an opportunity to work in us and through us, so we can be open to the Spirit’s action in our lives," Bishop Wester said, and suggested that Utah Catholics investigate the Year of Faith offerings at their parish and through the diocese.
"See what appeals to you, what you might want to involve yourself with," the bishop urged. "I think the important thing is to make this a personal commitment to grow in the faith."
The bishop gave some questions that Catholics might ask themselves: Is faith something you take for granted? When was the last time you read seriously about the faith? Really prayed? Thanked God for the gift of your faith? Realized the importance of the Catholic faith in your life?
"These are questions we have to ask ourselves," he said. "We take so many things for granted, and this is a time to heighten in awareness of the importance of our faith and not to take it for granted."
To deepen faith, Bishop Wester recommended that Catholics attend programs at their parish or the diocese, and read books such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church. As for the liturgy, he suggested forming a prayer group, attending Mass more often, reviewing the Sunday readings before going to Mass, staying after Mass for a few moments to pray, or gathering the family around meals for prayer.
"These are all possibilities, things we could do to deepen our faith and to grow in faith," the bishop said. "Each person has to decide what it might be for that person."
Some parishes have already begun programs geared toward the Year of Faith. For example, the Bible study group at Saint Therese of the Child Jesus Parish will use Father Robert Barron’s "Catholicism" video series as a study guide; Saint George Parish has begun a year-long monthly workshop for catechists (see story, left), and the Cathedral of the Madeleine is offering four weeks of lectures on the major teachings of Vatican II.
Catholic Community Services has been suggested as the primary recipient for charity for the Diocese of Salt Lake City during the Year of Faith. CCS operates numerous programs, including the Saint Vincent de Paul Dining Hall and the Weigand Center (see story, p. 6) in Salt Lake City, the Joyce Hansen Hall Food Bank in Ogden, the Refugee Resettlement Program and St. Mary’s Home for Men, which is a residential substance abuse treatment facility in Salt Lake City.
During the Year of Faith, CCS is asking for specific donations each month to coincide with their needs. The donations may be brought to parishes on the second Sunday of each month or at any time to the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall (437 West 200 South,) CCS Salt Lake (745 East 300 South) or CCS Northern Utah (2504 F Ave. in Ogden.)
"CCS is the natural ‘charity of choice’ for our diocese for the third ‘leg’ of what the Year of Faith, as designated by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict, is all about: catechesis, liturgy, and charity," said Monsignor Colin F. Bircumshaw, the diocese’s vicar general. "Of course, people can give to whatever they want, but CCS is the official institutional arm of the bishop’s ministry of charity within the diocese."
The diocese has several Year of Faith events already scheduled through the spring.
: Prayer service, noon, Cathedral of the Madeleine, 309 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City. Bishop Wester will preside.
: Diocesan Advent Retreat, Saint John the Baptist Church, 300 East 11800 South, Draper, 9 a.m. to noon. Presenters are Dominican Father Carl Schlichte, pastor of Saint Catherine of Siena/Newman Center (English) and Father Omar Ontiveros, pastor of Saints Peter and Paul Parish (Spanish).
: Diocesan Advent Retreat, Saint George Catholic Church
: Diocesan Lenten Retreat, Salt Lake City
: Diocesan Lenten Retreat, Saint George Catholic Church
More information about the later events will be posted as it becomes available. If your parish or organization is planning a Year of Faith event, please send information to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Marie Mischel at 801-456-9340.