The note, prepared by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), is dated 6 January 2012, the Feast of the Epiphany, and was to be circulated in full on 7 January.
Pope Benedict XVI announced the Year of Faith in his Apostolic Letter Porta fidei of 11 October 2011.
The Year will begin on 11 October 2012, the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, and will conclude on 24 November 2013, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Universal King.
The Year of Faith also marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The introduction to the CDF note explains that “the Year of Faith is intended to contribute to a renewed conversion to the Lord Jesus and to the rediscovery of faith, so that the members of the Church will be credible and joy-filled witnesses to the Risen Lord, capable of leading those many people who are seeking it to the door of faith”.
It says: “The Year of Faith will be a propitious occasion to make Vatican Council II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church more widely and deeply known.”
The pastoral recommendations seek “to aid both the encounter with Christ through authentic witnesses to faith, and the ever-greater understanding of its contents”.
All members of the Church are invited to work to ensure that, during the Year of Faith, we may rediscover and “share that which is most dear to us – Christ Jesus, the Redeemer of mankind”, the note says.
The Note divides its recommendations into four groups – the Universal Church, episcopal conferences, dioceses and, finally, parishes, communities, associations and movements.
“On the level of episcopal conferences, attention will be given to the quality of catechesis, and efforts will be made to examine local catechisms and various catechetical supplements in use in the particular Churches,” the note says, “to ensure their complete conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
“It is also hoped that use will be made of the language of the mass media and art, with television and radio transmissions, films and publications focusing on the faith, its principles and content, as well as on the ecclesial significance of Vatican Council II.
Source of the New Evangelisation
“At the diocesan level, the Year of Faith is considered, among other things, as an occasion for renewed creative dialogue between faith and reason in the academic and artistic communities, through symposia, meetings and days of study, especially at Catholic universities, and as a favourable time for ‘penitential celebrations … in which all can ask for God’s forgiveness, especially for sins against faith’.”
It continues: “At the parish level the focus remains on the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist, because in the Eucharist, mystery of faith and source of the new evangelisation, the faith of the Church is proclaimed, celebrated and strengthened.
“It is on this foundation that other initiatives will come into being, develop and spread, particularly those undertaken by Institutes, new Communities and Ecclesial Movements.”
The note adds: “A Secretariat to coordinate all of the different initiatives promoted by various dicasteries of the Holy See, or other events relevant to the Universal Church, will be established within the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation.
“The Secretariat can also suggest appropriate initiatives for the Year of Faith, and will open a dedicated website with the goal of making available useful information on the subject.”
In Australia, the Year of Faith will be celebrated alongside of the Year of Grace.