SALT LAKE CITY — Fall in love with Christ during the Year of Faith, the Most Rev. John C. Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City, urged those who attended the year’s opening celebrations on Oct. 11.
Pope Benedict XVI called for a Year of Faith to begin Oct. 11 and run through Nov. 24, 2013 to mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
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 in the world of today – capable of leading those many people who are seeking it to the "door of faith," according to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.
In Salt Lake City, the Year of Faith began with a procession from the courtyard into the Cathedral of the Madeleine for the noon prayer service. The procession was led by representatives of different congregations carrying images of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Church. Many diocesan priests, laity and Catholic school children attended the service, as did members of other faiths.
Bishop Wester welcomed all "as we step forward into this year of grace," he said.
The year offers Catholics three ways to deepen their relationship with Christ, Bishop Wester said: educating themselves about the faith; living the faith each day, particularly with works of charity; and worshiping God.
"Hopefully we’ll all be called to all three, but each of us will have his or her own particular drawing to one of these three pillars," he said. "I believe that we would do well if we could spend this Year of Faith deepening our relationship with Jesus Christ, and recognizing that that is at the core of our faith."
Studying the Scriptures, reading the documents of Vatican II, visiting the sick or reaching out to neighbors and attending Mass and other liturgical events throughout the year all are ways to know Christ, to live Christ and to celebrate Christ, Bishop Wester said. "These would be wonderful ways for us to journey through this Year of Faith as we give thanks to Almighty God for this most precious of gifts."
In particular, Bishop Wester recommended for study the Gospel of Saint Mark, which he called a personal unfolding of how the Apostle fell in love with Christ.
"Perhaps we might look at this Year of Faith as yet another invitation once more to fall in love with Jesus Christ, who loves each of us beyond description," Bishop Wester said.