From Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC, author of the po... Read more
A Time to Step It Up
We asked some of our Marian Helpers to share how they are marking the Year of Faith, especially in their parishes.
'I Resolve to Grow and Help Others Learn'
I am doing a number of things as I resolve to grow and help others learn more about their faith.
Every morning, I start my day with a daily reading from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. There are several websites that I encourage everyone to visit that will help them get involved with their faith.
I am also a member of a Divine Mercy Cenacle, and we consecrated ourselves to Mary on the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. That was very powerful because as we were reading Fr. Michael Gaitley's book 33 Days to Morning Glory, we were reflecting on a passage from the Diary of St. Faustina about how she was also preparing for the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Those combined with all the teachings of the saints in Fr. Mike's book made my consecration very special.
In January, we started new classes related to the Year of Faith here at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church. The first is a small class for a Year of Faith Bible study by Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ, which I am facilitating. The second is for a group of 300 that is following the Great Adventure Bible Study series, which is geared to helping groups grow in faith together.
— Tina Araujo, The Woodlands, Texas
'Many Opportunites to Grow Spiritually'
We at St. John Neumann Church are being blessed with many opportunities to grow spiritually during the Year of Faith.
We offered a Catholicism series by Fr. Robert Barron. We are running small and large groups to learn about our Catholic faith during 10- and 20-week sessions. Dr. Steven Smith came to our parish for the beginning of the Year of Faith. He did a weekend couple's retreat, teaching our couples more about the theology of marriage and how living and fulfilling God's plan for marriage can bring many blessings to their lives, the life of our parish, and our society. As a follow-up, we are doing the "Six Great Date Nights," where couples come to our parish to share on a variety of topics about opportunities for spiritual growth.
Father Michael Gaitley, MIC, did a weekend parish retreat to prepare the parish to do a parish-wide consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. There are about 400 parishioners who are praying together over 33 days [using Fr. Michael's book, 33 Days to Morning Glory consecration]. On the last day, we are all gathering in the church to do the consecration. From then onward, each of us is committed to daily consecrating ourselves to Christ through Mary. We expect many lives to be changed for the Lord and many blessing to occur through Mary's intercession.
Jeff Cavins will come to our parish for a weekend and lead a parish-wide retreat on the Bible. We will follow up the weekend with more Bible study groups. We are currently running several Bible study small groups, using Jeff Cavins' Great Adventure Bible Study series, which is geared to helping small groups grow in faith together.
For Lent, every Friday evening, we are having a different speaker come to our parish and lead us in a teaching and discussion about the social doctrines of the Church and how to put our faith into action. At the Masses, we will be preaching each weekend of Lent on a single topic of our Catholic faith, to go a little deeper into particular aspects of the faith.
We took several busloads of people to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. We believe that this was an awesome way to express and exercise our faith by standing up for the most vulnerable in our society during this Year of Faith.
Many of our regular parish programs are following the theme of the Year of Faith. For instance, our high school youth group is learning more this year about the social teachings of our Catholic faith and is putting these teachings into practice by serving the poor.
— Fr. David Sizemore, Sunbury, Ohio
Building Faith through Pilgrimages
My wife and I are working on developing a list of pilgrimages members of our parish can take to help them build their faith. We felt that if people could visit shrines, churches, or attend healing Masses during the Year of Faith, it would help them learn and grow. We offer them places they can travel to locally, within the state, within the U.S., or even globally. We say they can travel 20, 200, or 2,000 miles.
In addition, while out on these pilgrimages, we hand out lots of Divine Mercy materials to help educate those around us. We encourage them to say a prayer for our country, so that more people will rediscover their faith.
— Charles R. Yezak Sr., Marlin, Texas