Today marks the beginning of the Catholic Church's Year of Faith and the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa is encouraging the Catholic faithful in the CNMI to renew their faith in the Risen Lord.
The onset of the celebration coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and its culmination on Nov. 24, 2013, corresponds to the 20th anniversary of the official release of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Fr. Kenneth J. Hezel of the St. Jude Parish on Saipan said Tuesday that the Year of Faith is a call by Pope Benedict XVI to Catholic communities throughout the world to renew their missionary activity in three directions. These are the normal missionary activity among active Catholics within parishes, normal missionary activity among those who have never received the gospel, and missionary activity in nations that have already received the gospel but have grown less active in the practice of their Catholic faith.
“The Year of Faith really is re-evangelization or doing again what have been done before,” said Hezel, adding that the event will serve as an opportunity to “rediscover the deep roots of our faith and how they affect everyday life.”
Fr. Ryan P. Jimenez, apostolic administrator for the diocese, said the predominantly Catholic community of the Northern Marianas is responding to the invitation for people to have renewed enthusiasm for their faith.
“There are a lot of people in our community who were born and baptized Catholics but somehow, the zeal is probably lost somewhere so we hope to rekindle that,” he said in an interview.
Jimenez noted the need for Catholics in the Commonwealth to learn the contents of their faith and do more than just participate in “so-called traditions” such as fiestas, rosaries, and Masses for the dead.
He said a committee composed of representatives from each of the parishes is involved in the planning of the Year of Faith celebration, which will kick off today at 6pm with a Mass at the Mount Carmel Cathedral.
The mass will feature Rev. Msgr. David C. Quitugua, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Agana, as main presider and homilist for the big event.
Jimenez said that other initiatives have been lined up for each parish throughout the year to encourage Catholics to renew their faith. Among these are recollections and retreats, Bible classes, home visitations, novenas, and seminars.
“I look at it as a new beginning and hopefully a way for us to just jumpstart on pastoral ministry,” he added.
The Diocese of Chalan Kanoa is composed of 13 parishes: 10 on Saipan, including the Korean Catholic community; one on Tinian; and two on Rota.
For the schedule of activities or more information about Year of Faith, call 234-3000, email email@example.com or visit www.dioceseofchalankanoa.com.