Archbishop: Holy Spirit Profoundly Guided Vatican II
Published: October 25, 2012
ATLANTA—Hundreds of people came out on Thursday, Oct. 11, to the Cathedral of Christ the King to mark the beginning of the Year of Faith.
The Year of Faith coincides with the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and two decades since the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Recalling the changes brought about by the landmark council, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory opened the noon Mass greeting the large crowd in Latin, as was the worldwide practice in 1962.
“Dominus vobiscum,” he said, or, “The Lord be with you.”
Clergy and laity join one another during the Oct. 11 opening Mass for the Year of Faith. (Photos by Michael Alexander)
Many in attendance came to start the year dedicated to deepening and sharing their faith.
Mila De Olano carried her young son, Juan Pablo, named after Blessed John Paul II, in the back of the cathedral.
“My faith is the rock of my life,” she said. “This year is going to be amazing.”
She said a goal for her is to dive deeper into Catholicism, to better appreciate the teachings of the church.
Pauline Atem, the sister of Father Henry Atem, said the Mass was a good start to her goal of increasing her faith.
By better understanding what the church teaches, Atem, who attends St. Michael Church, Gainesville, said she intends to do her part to spread the church’s message among her peers, using Facebook to share religious photos and messages. She wants to be “very open about my faith.”
Passionist Father Jerome McKenna, pastor of St. Paul of the Cross Church, Atlanta, was studying at the Angelicum University, Rome, during the opening of the Second Vatican Council in 1962.
The Year of Faith is a worldwide celebration. It began on Oct. 11, 2012 and concludes on Nov. 24, 2013.
Catholics are invited to spend the year deepening their faith. Many parishes are hosting programs to study the Second Vatican Council and its 16 landmark documents. Others will be examining and reflecting on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which was issued 20 years ago. Church members in the Atlanta Archdiocese will also have the opportunity to read about and discuss the Virgin Mary and her role in the faith. In this archdiocese, the Year of Faith is dedicated to Mary, who, Archbishop Gregory said, is “faith personified.”
Vi Martinelli, who worships at Holy Trinity Church, Peachtree City, drove with friends to join other Catholics marking the Year of Faith at the opening Mass.
Nancy Barker of St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Alpharetta, left, and Patricia Phelp-Scott, visiting from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, kneel in prayer before an image of Mary following Mass. The Archdiocese of Atlanta declared a Marian Year during the universal Year of Faith.
“I love coming to Mass,” she said. “(Faith) is so important to pass on.”
Her goal for the year is to deepen her faith by praying more often.
Some three dozen priests and deacons assisted Archbishop Gregory at the Mass.
In his homily, the archbishop focused on the three-year Vatican Council convened from 1962 to 1965. He called it the “paramount event” of the church in the past century. He said the reforms brought about by the council, like celebrating Mass in the spoken language of the people, rather than in Latin, “changed the face of the church, although not her heritage or her spiritual legacy.”
He said the council shaped the life of the church in the years that followed.
“That particular moment 50 years ago has determined my entire life as a priest and now as a bishop, although I could not have realized how significant it would become at the time it began,” he said.
Archbishop Gregory said the council brought new thinking to the way in which the church should engage with the modern world.
“The church would engage the world in order to transform it, to introduce it to the very person of Christ Jesus,” he said.
“The Second Vatican Council was perhaps the greatest expression of the presence and the activity of the Spirit of God guiding and moving the community of faith that we could ever have envisioned,” he said.
Year of Faith
The Atlanta Archdiocese’s new website for the Year of Faith is up and running. The website includes plans for celebrating this year of prayer and education and faith, videos by Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory and Bishop Luis R. Zarama, prayers of the day written by fellow Catholics in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, and resources for learning about Mary, our Blessed Mother.
There is more about the Year of Faith at yof.archatl.com.