Participating in the Year of Faith can be broken down into three main steps:
Understand your faith
Live your faith
Evangelize your faith
In order to effectively share and live your faith, learning as much as possible about who we are and what we believe as Catholics is of primary importance. Bishop David L. Ricken of the Diocese of Green Bay and Chairman of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis of the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops
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suggests “10 ways that Catholics can Live the Year of Faith,” and evangelize to the world in the process. Here are a few ideas to incorporate these ideas into your family:
? Participating in Mass as a family. Regular Mass attendance strengthens the relationship with Jesus through Scriptures, the Creed, singing sacred music, hearing the homily, receiving Holy Communion and becoming part of a larger faith community.
? Making confession part of a regular family routine. There is great healing power in confessing one’s sins and making an effort to grow closer to God. www.archmil.org/parishes/Find-Confession.htm
? Learning about the lives of the saints. An easy way to incorporate the lives of saints in daily life is by including the Saint of the Day each morning or at dinnertime as a family. There are many excellent sources of books on the lives of the saints for all age levels, such as “A Catholic Child’s Illustrated Lives of the Saints,” by L.E McCullough, or “First Book of Saints,” by Society of the Divine Word Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik.
? Reading the Bible each day. Through reading and praying the Scriptures, the Word of God can be integral to growth as a Catholic Christian. There are a variety of children’s Bible’s available at local Catholic Bookstores and online at www.catholiccompany.com/childrens-bibles.
? Reading the Documents of Vatican II: Learn how this important work caused a great renewal of the church 50 years ago, and continues to do so today.
? Study the Catechism. This important teaching covers the beliefs, moral teachings, prayer and sacraments of the Catholic Church in one volume. The book can be purchased, viewed online tinyurl.com/6sz4dfa, or in small increments in a year-long daily email www.flocknote.com/catechism
? Volunteer in the parish: Even younger members can help with hospitality, musicians and festivals. Adults are needed in all roles and it is a great way to meet others, as well as to share your gifts with your faith community.
? Help those in need. As Catholics, we are encouraged to step out and donate time, talent or finances to help the poor, marginalized and vulnerable. Children are often very excited to assist with Christmas shopping for a needy family, or to donate gently used clothes or toys to a charitable organization, or visit a nursing home. Small acts of kindness such as these, helps to set a lifelong example of stewardship in the hearts of the young.
? Invite a friend to Mass: Whether it is a friend, neighbor, relative or child’s playmate, perhaps a personal invitation will make all the difference in bringing someone to the faith.
? Incorporate the Beatitudes into daily life: Need help? Matthew 5:3-12 offers wise advice, as well as wisdom, patience and grace into our call as followers of Christ. Children might enjoy, “The Beatitudes for Children,” by Rosemarie Gortler to read before bedtime, or “A Life of Our Lord for Children,” by Marigold Hunt.
New on the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Year of Faith website is C4, a weekly two-minute video by Bishop Donald Hying www.archmil.org/Year-of-Faith.htm connecting the Catholic faith with the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
“Bishop Don’s videos are a really great way to highlight the Year of Faith for families,” said Lydia LoCoco, director of The Nazareth Project for Marriage and Family Formation.
For those who may have veered from regular practice of the faith; or have left and are interested in returning, Fransciscan Fr. Patrick McClosky recommends www.OnceCatholic.org as an outreach to Catholics who might return to the practice of their faith.
“We offer resources, but the busiest part of the site are the eight conversation corners, in which people can ask questions about marriage issues, church teachings, and other areas that factor into estrangement from the Catholic Church.”
— Compiled by Karen Mahoney