The Year of Faith will end this coming Sunday with a Solemn Mass in Saint Peter’s Square and the handing of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium by Pope Francis.
On Sunday, the Pontiff will hand the document symbolically to a Bishop, a priest and a deacon, however, the contents of the Exhortation will be made public next Tuesday, with the official presentation at the Holy See Press Office, in the presence of Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization; Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary of the Synod of Bishops, and Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. Archbishop Fisichella made the announcement this morning on the occasion of the presentation of the closing events of the Year of Faith.
The first event will be Pope Francis’ visit to the convent of the Camaldolese Nuns on the Aventine, planned for Thursday, November 21 at 4:45 pm. “The choice of this convent is due to the fact that, since the Second Vatican Council, these nuns have revisited their Rule, seeking to return to the origins of their charism,” explained Archbishop Fisichella.
The Pope will pause in prayer with the nuns, who in these years have opened their convent to share Lectio Divina and their table with the poor. “A help that meets the twofold need of the faith: to discover the richness of the Word of God and to share one’s table with those who have nothing to eat, added the Vatican prelate responsible for the New Evangelization.
At the end of the prayer, the Pope will meet alone with the Community for a private conversation, at the end of which the nuns will offer the Holy Father the Letters of Sister Nazarena Crotta (1907-1990), the last recluse who lived in the convent of the Aventine, written to her spiritual Father.
The second event will take place on Saturday, November 23, with the pilgrimage of catechumens to Saint Peter’s. The catechumens will gather from 47 countries worldwide and 35 of them will meet with the Holy Father. To them the Holy Father will address the traditional questions of the rite: “What is your name?; What do you ask of the Church of God?; And what does the faith give you?”
“For many Christians, who often do not live their Baptism and for so many who feel alive the desire for God, this moment could become the occasion to rediscover the novelty of the faith. In short, a sign for all to rediscover the beauty of Baptism and new life given in Christ,” added Archbishop Fisichella.
The final ceremony of the Year of Faith, with the Eucharistic celebration in Saint Peter’s Square at 10:30 am on Sunday, November 24, will take place with three signs, the first of which will be the exposition of the relics of Saint Peter. It is a special urn with the alleged bones of the Prince of the Apostles, which in 1971 was given in tribute to Paul VI.
The urn, which was kept in the papal apartment throughout Benedict XVI’s pontificate, in past years was exposed every June 29, on the occasion of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, but always inside the Pope’s private chapel: next Sunday, however, the Petrine relics will be exposed for the first time to the public.
The second event will be the mentioned handing of the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, the first signed by Pope Francis: thus the papal document will become “a mission that is entrusted to every baptized person to become an evangelizer,” stressed Archbishop Fisichella.
The letter will be handed to a Bishop, a priest and a deacon chosen among the youngest to be ordained, from Latvia, Tanzania and Australia, and to representatives of the Confirmed, a seminarian and a woman novice, a family, catechists, a blind man – to whom the Pope will hand his letter in CD-Rom so that it can be reproduced in audio format – as well as to young people, Confraternities and Movements.
Also receiving the Apostolic Exhortation will be representatives in the world of art “to make evident the value of beauty as a privileged way of evangelization”. Among the artists will be Etsuro Sotoo, Japanese sculptor famous for his work of the “Holy Family” and Anna Gulak, a young Polish painter.
Two representatives of journalism will also receive the Exhortation “to attest to the great commitment and promotion carried out by those dedicated to this service, which represents increasingly a new form of culture with which the Church feels the urgency to address and feel helped and supported in the work of evangelization,” stressed Archbishop Fisichella.
A third sign will be a gesture of charity in favor of the Philippine population devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, in benefit of which during the Holy Mass a collection will be taken up “as contribution of the pilgrims of the Year of Faith to the many brothers and sisters who were touched by the calamity and are experiencing situations of profound need,” explained the prelate.