LEWISTOWN - On the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the church will enter a period of great grace for her people. The Year of Faith begins Oct. 11 and offers Catholics an opportunity to turn toward Jesus Christ and enter into a deeper relationship with him in the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist.
According to a press release from the Diocese of Harrisburg, the Year of Faith was announced by Pope Benedict XVI in his Apostolic Letter, Porta Fidei (The Door of Faith). The occasion is a chance for each and every Catholic to renew their baptismal call by living their lives in faith, hope and love. It is through this everyday witness that Catholics proclaim the Gospel to all people, the release states.
"The door of faith (Acts 14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of a communion with God and offering entry into his Church," the pope said in his letter.
In recognition of the Year of Faith, Father Bill Weary, pastor of Sacred Heart Church, in Lewistown, and St. Jude Thaddeus Parish, in Mifflintown, said local churches will host special services and faith-based events in the community.
Sacred Heart Church will hold its annual Eucharistic Adoration from Oct. 14 to 16. During this three-day period, the church will be open all day for silent prayer and adoration. Each day will conclude with a 7 p.m. service. Bishop Joseph P. McFadden, of Harrisburg, will preside at the closing ceremony on Oct. 16. Weary said Father Tukura Michael, O.P., a native of Nigeria and former temporary assistant pastor at Sacred Heart, will be guest preaching all three nights.
Year of Faith events also will be held at St. Jude Thaddeus Parish. Weary said the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed for adult prayer and adoration after the 9:15 a.m. Mass every first Sunday of the month. On the second, third, fourth and fifth Sunday, the DVD series, "Catholicism, the Journey of a Lifetime," will be shown after Mass in the church narthex. Weary said the series was developed by Father Robert Barron, rector of St. Mary of the Lake University, and is focused on the Church's 2,000 year history and its contributions to civilization. A new 6 p.m. Thursday night Mass was also recently added to the calendar as a Year of Faith event.
The DVD series will be shown at Sacred Heart Church as well, but dates and times are not yet available.
"I am very happy for this opportunity to further increase the faith of our people under this church-wide theme, proclaimed by the pope," Weary said. "In part, this is designed to address the shocking decrease in faith experienced in recent decades, especially in Europe and the Americas."
Special years of celebration and observation are frequent in the Church and meant to call the faithful to dedicate themselves to a deeper understanding of a certain aspect of the faith, the release states.
"We must rediscover the tremendous riches of faith in Jesus Christ and His bride, the Church, by allowing this special year of grace to propel us to new fervor," Weary said.
The Year of Faith will conclude on November 24, 2013, the Solemnity of Christ the King.
For more information, call Sacred Heart Church at 242-2781 or St. Jude Thaddeus Parish at 436-6722.