Pope Benedict chose to open the Year of Faith on the October 11, 2012 because that date is the anniversary of two important events in the life of the Catholic Church:
The Year of Faith will close on 24 November 2013, the Solemn Feast of Christ the King throughout the world.
Pope Benedict (Emeritus) is convinced that the Second Vatican Council, if interpreted and implemented according to the mind of the Church stretching back to the Apostles, 'can be and can become increasingly powerful for the ever necessary renewal of the Church’. (Porta Fidei, 5). This is why an important component of the Year of Faith will be reflection and rediscovery of the riches contained in the texts of Vatican II.
Pope Benedict XVI sees the Catechism as ’a precious and indispensable tool. It is one of the most important fruits of the Second Vatican Council’. (Porta Fidei, 11). The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a systematic presentation of the Catholic Faith that enables the faithful to know the full symphony of Faith. In the Catechism ‘we see the wealth of teaching that the Church has received, safeguarded and proposed in her two thousand years of history. From Sacred Scripture to the Fathers of the Church, from theological masters to the saints across the centuries, the Catechism provides a permanent record of the many ways in which the Church has meditated on the faith and made progress in doctrine so as to offer certitude to believers in their lives of faith.’ (Porta Fidei, 11).
This is why an important component of the Year of Faith will involve a ‘concerted effort by every Catholic to rediscover and study the fundamental content of the faith that receives its systematic and organic synthesis in the Catechism of the Catholic Church’.
To rediscover the content of the faith that is professed, celebrated, lived and prayed, and to reflect on the act of faith, is a task that every believer must make his own, especially in the course of this Year. In order for us to rediscover the content of the faith, the Holy Father proposes that the Year of Faith will have to see a concerted effort to rediscover and study the fundamental content of the faith that receives its systematic and organic synthesis in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The Holy Father wants the Year of Faith to arouse in every believer the aspiration to profess the faith in fullness and with renewed conviction, with confidence and hope. He wants us to intensify the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist, which is “the summit towards which the activity of the Church is directed; … and also the source from which all its power flows.”To profess our faith in the Risen Lord in our cathedrals and in the churches of the whole world, in our homes and among our families, and to transmit to future generations the faith of all times, we need to know our faith better. So this Year of Faith is dedicated to refreshing our own knowledge of the faith, and evangelizing our fellow Catholics, adrift in a world with a secular focus, who have lost or never had, the understanding of our Catholic faith that fortifies us against the insidious pull of the culture we live in.
Taking up one of the recurring themes of his pontificate, the Pope Benedict expressed the hope that the Year of Faith will also be a good opportunity for each one of us to intensify the witness of charity, which is faith in action. He concludes with this beautiful expression of his hopes for us:
‘Intent on gathering the signs of the times in the present of history, faith commits every one of us to become a living sign of the presence of the Risen Lord in the world. What the world is in particular need of today is the credible witness of people enlightened in mind and heart by the word of the Lord, and capable of opening the hearts and minds of many to the desire for God and for true life, life without end.’ Porta Fidei, 15