‘Year of Faith’ opens Oct. 11; catechists asked to ‘go deeper’

By: By Jennifer Willems

Don’t think of the Year of Faith as one more thing to do, advises Beth Mahoney, mission director for Holy Cross Family Ministries.

“When Pope Benedict XVI established the Year of Faith, he was asking us to look at what we’re already living and strengthen that, and to give us the courage to go a little bit deeper in what we already know,” she told The Catholic Post during a break in last Saturday’s Day of Renewal for Catechists at the Spalding Pastoral Center in Peoria.

The Year of Faith will begin on Oct. 11 and conclude on Nov. 24, 2013, the Solemnity of Christ the King and end of the next liturgical year. Oct 11 is significant because it is the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the pope has asked Catholics to reflect on both as a way of bringing about the “new evangelization.”

“It’s nothing really new, even though it’s classified as new evangelization,” Mahoney said. “It’s really a renewal of what we already have.”

The current political climate and fallout from things like the HHS mandate make this an exciting time to focus on what our faith means to us, she added.

Noting that the apostles lived in difficult times, too, Mahoney said they were fearless. While science and technology make modern challenges a bit more complicated, we are called to be fearless, too.

“Oftentimes the challenge is looking at how strong are we to say, ‘Yes, I believe in this’ and not be afraid to celebrate it,” she explained. “We’re so afraid inwardly in our understanding and our prayer and we’re being called to look at the apostles and how they lived. They went out. How do we go out?”

The concept of invitation is key, Mahoney said, pointing to the Blessed Mother as one who accepted God’s invitation to cooperate in his plan for the salvation of the world.

“Mary was invited,” she said. “How do we invite people? How do we invite people to this journey to walk with us, to walk with Jesus?”

And Mary invites us to know her Son, according to Mahoney, who also made presentations at Visitation School in Kewanee, at Our Lady of Lourdes in Silvis, and at a confirmation retreat at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Peoria while she was in central Illinois.

“Mary always brings us to her Son — always — in everything that she does,” Mahoney said. “How do we bring people to her Son? How do we say, ‘Come, walk with me and you’ll get a life that is going to be unbelievable, fantastic, joyful’?”

Holy Cross Family Ministries was founded by Servant of God Father Patrick Peyton, CSC, who is known as “The Rosary Priest,” and Mahoney said she always goes back to the mysteries of the rosary as ways to celebrate the life of Christ and his Mother. She singled out the Luminous Mysteries — the baptism of Jesus, the wedding feast at Cana, the proclamation of the Kingdom, the Transfiguration of Jesus, and the institution of the Eucharist — in her talks around the diocese.

She also noted that Pope Benedict’s apostolic letter, “Porta Fide” (“The Door of Faith”), emphasizes charity and urges Catholics to explore how they live the Beatitudes.

“We are called to share our stories, to celebrate our joys, and to remember the faithfulness of our loving and gentle God,” Mahoney said.

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