Interview for the Catholic Spirit
- Written by Bishop Joe S. Vásquez
October 17, 2012
Editor: On Oct. 11, the Roman Catholic Church will begin celebrating the Year of Faith. What is the purpose of the year?
Bishop Vásquez: The Year of Faith is a great gift that our Holy Father has given us. With his Apostolic Letter “Porta Fidei,” Pope Benedict XVI declared that a “Year of Faith” will begin on Oct. 11, and conclude on Nov. 24, 2013. In his letter, the pope calls for the renewal of faith by us as a church. The year is a “summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the One Savior of the world,” he writes in “Porta Fidei.”
The pope, in his travel all over the world, has taken note of the challenges presented to Christianity. He has noticed parts of Europe and Western society that are struggling with certain issues in faith and the existence of God in general. Therefore, the Holy Father wants to show that our life, especially as Catholics, is one that is lived out in faith and to have that personal encounter with Jesus Christ is primary and at the very heart of our faith.
The new evangelization, which has been promoted for years first by Blessed John Paul II and now by Benedict XVI, has been the church’s response to the crisis of faith. The new evangelization calls us to communicate the joy and hope of the Christian faith, which is discovered through our own personal encounter with Christ. As Peter tells the early Christians, “Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope” (1Pt 3: 14-15). Jesus is the reason for our hope and we need to share that message with others, especially those who are struggling with their faith or who have lost their faith. As Christians, we shouldn’t be embarrassed, frightened or ashamed of knowing Christ, we are called to share his message with everyone!