(Vatican Radio) With just over two months to go, the Vatican has published the full official calendar of events pertaining to the upcoming Year of Faith.
Pope Benedict VI has called the Year of Faith to strengthen Catholics who go to Church, reach out to those who have left but still yearn for God in their lives, offer a response to those who are searching for meaning and help those who think they do not need God.
And as was revealed back in June when the Annus Fidei was first presented, there’s a special hymn, a logo and a prayer card as well as a full calendar of special “Year of Faith” events.
The Year itself begins on 11th October 2012 with a Mass presided by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Square. It will be concelebrated by bishops and theologians who, like the Pope himself, served as members or experts at the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council.
Many of the Pope's traditional appointments, like the 25th January celebration marking the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and the 2 February Prayer with religious are incorporated into the Year of Faith.
But other events have been added such as the October 6th “Courtyard of the Gentiles” meeting in the Umbrian town of Assisi which is seen as a prologue to the Annus Fidei with an encounter and dialogue between believers and non-believers on the theme of faith.
One highlight is represented by the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme of New Evangelization from 7th to 28th October.
After the official opening of the Year of Faith, a cultural event takes place on 12th October at the Church of the Gesù focuses on Dante Alighieri and Faith during which an excerpt of Dante’s “Paradise” from the Divine Comedy will be recited.
The wide-ranging calendar includes the canonization of six martyrs of the faith on 21st October; a World Congress for Catholic teachers from 26th to 30th October ; an International Conference for Health Care workers on the theme “the Hospital, a place of evangelization: a human and spiritual mission” from 15th to 17th November.
On 1st December Pope Benedict will celebrate the first Vespers of Advent for the Pontifical Universities, the Seminaries and the Ecclesial Colleges.
An exhibition of the Year of Faith is due to be inaugurated on 20th December at Castel Sant’Angelo. It will remain open until 1stMay 2013.
Just after Christmas, on 28th December, the Taizé community in collaboration with the Vicariate of Rome promotes a European youth meeting to last until 2nd January 2013.
The new Year sees the afore-mentioned celebration for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and the inauguration of a major exhibition at the Basilica of Saint Paul outside the walls dedicated to the Basilica itself and Vatican II (until 24th November 2013).
Pope Benedict is then due to preside at the celebration for the World Day for Consecrated Life on 2nd February, followed by Palm Sunday on 24th March.
Meanwhile, on 25th and 26th February an international congress dedicated to the Saints Cirillus and Methodius takes place at the Pontifical Oriental Institute and at the Gregorian University
From 4th to 6th April Catholic Associations dedicated to education hold a conference.
A concert entitled “Oh My Son” takes place in the Paul VIth Hall on 13th April.
The month of April also foresees the Day of Seminaries, a Day of Study dedicated to Vatican II documents, and a celebration on 28th April during which the Pope will confirm a group of young people and meet with others who recently have been or are about to be confirmed in their home countries.
In May Benedict is scheduled to celebrate the Day of Confraternities and Popular Piety and undertake a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Peter.
On 2nd June, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ in most countries, the pope will lead the solemn adoration of the Eucharist and is asking every cathedral and parish to have an hour of silent contemplation before the Blessed Sacrament at exactly the same hour.
Two weeks later, on 16th June, Pope Benedict will preside over a celebration of the church's witness to the dignity and value of every human life.
Amongst the cultural events planned, on 22nd June St Peter’s Square will come alive with a huge concert for the Year of Faith.
And on 7th July Benedict will meet with seminarians and religious-order novices, who will make a pilgrimage to Rome to demonstrate "the joy of their decision to follow the Lord in serving his church."
From 23rd to 28th July the Pope will travel to Rio de Janeiro to celebrate World Youth Day.
In September, a workshop organised by the Congregation for Catholic Education and the Pontifical Universities examine the value of “the Catholic Church’s Catechism” in the teaching of theology (18th – 19th September)
The 29th September is the Day for Catechists and it will be celebrated in the presence of Benedict XVI.
On 13th October the Pope will celebrate a Marian Day together with a host of Marian Associations.
Pope Benedict is scheduled to conclude the Year of Faith on 24th November 2013
Meanwhile, the Vatican has launched a website - www.annusfidei.va – with information about the Year of Faith and its full calendar of special events.