Oct 15, 2012

At the beginning of the Year of Faith

A message from Bishop Isao Kikuchi at the beginning of the Year of Faith

My dear brothers and sisters in Niigata diocese,

"We cannot accept that salt should become tasteless or the light be kept hidden (cf. Mt 5:13-16)"

With these words in his apostolic letter to announce the Year of Faith, "PORTA FIDEI," Holy Father invites all of us to commit ourselves to a new evangelization.

The Year of Faith begins on 11 October this year, which is the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, and will last till 24 November 2013, Sunday of the Christ the King. Through out this year, as one who inherited the gift of faith, we are invited to renew our commitment in "choosing to stand with the Lord so as to live with him ("Porta Fidei"10)" and to be witnesses of our faith through our words and deeds by going back to the root of our faith.

As we are celebrating the centenary of the diocese in Niigata, I would like to invite all of you to make this year as "time" to go back to the very basics of our faith and deepen your knowledge again.

While referring also to the message of Japanese Bishops Conference, I would like to recommend following points to be considered in our parishes. Each parishes are to come out with their own plans of action for the Year of Faith and report back to me through respective parish priests.

1: Read attentively the apostolic letter of Holy Father, "Porta Fidei," and meditate on it.
2: Participate in the Holy Eucharist actively.
3: Pay much more attention to the study of the documents of Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church "so that everyone may feel a strong need to know better and to transmit to future generations the faith of all times."
4: More time and attention should be given to the Word of God and through prayer and sharing we will try to be renewed deep in our hearts.
5: By our own witnesses in the society through words and deeds, we will live to testify that "the Christian vocation by its very nature is also a vocation to the apostolate."

In Niigata diocese, the Year of Faith has started on 7 October with the Centenary Thanksgiving Mass. On 14 October, parishes should pray for the blessing over the Year of Faith during the Sunday Mass.
As we are invited to renew our gift of faith, we are also invited to realize our responsibility to bring our witnesses of faith and love. May we be able to return to the origin of our faith and deepen our understanding of our own mission.

11 October, 2012
Bishop Isao Kikuchi, SVD
Bishop of Niigata

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