As the Year of Faith draws to a close, Christians are reminded of their continuing mission: to spread the Gospel, and live their faith with joy.
In the lead up to the conclusion of the Year of Faith this weekend, Fr. Geno Sylva, English language official of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, emphasized the importance of continuing to live the fruits of the Holy Year even after it has ended.
In speaking about this weekend’s celebrations, Fr. Sylva noted how these events will have symbolic significance in the context of the Year of Faith. On the Saturday, for instance, before the concluding Mass for the Year of Faith, Pope Francis will preside over a gathering of catechumens and their catechists in Saint Peter’s Basilica. After the Liturgy of the Word, the Holy Father will deliver a catechesis in which he will reflect on the Gospel of John, 1:35-42.
This gathering is significant, said Fr. Sylva, for it shows that, “as the Year of Faith is coming to an end, what continues is the commitment of every Christian to respond every day to our Lord, who calls us to be his disciples, who sends us as disciples out into the world to announce the good news of the Gospel, and as a witness to the Gospel: that a life lived in faith is a life lived in joy.”
“It’s so beautiful to have catechumens gathering with their catechists,” he said, “as a real symbol that the Year of Faith can end, but the mission continues.”
Although the Year of Faith will officially conclude with Mass celebrated by Pope Francis, one of the highlights of the day will be the exposition of the relics of St. Peter the Apostle.
This gesture, said Fr. Sylva, is particularly significant, taking into account the millions of pilgrims who “have made the profession of faith at the tomb of the Apostle Peter.”
“It’s a sign of what the Year of Faith is about. It’s about reawakening the faith of the first Christians in the lives of present Christians.”
Also during Mass, some 200 volunteers will take up a collection of donations to aid those suffering in the Philippines. This gesture, Fr. Sylva said, is also relevant in the context of the Year of Faith: it “reminds the Universal Church,” he said, “that charity is essential to the new evangelization, for it gives credibility to the witness of the faith.”