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Monday, November 18, 2013

YEAR OF FAITH ENDS: MORE THAN EIGHT MILLION PILGRIMS


Vatican City, 18 November 2013 (VIS) – A press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office this morning to present the Day for Contemplative Life, a Year of Faith initiative, which will take place on 21 November, and the celebrations marking the end of the Year of Faith: a meeting of catechumens with the Pope (23 November) and the closing Holy Mass (24 November). The speakers in the conference were Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, along with Archbishop Jose Octavio Ruiz Arenas, and Msgr. Graham Bell, respectively secretary and under-secretary of the same dicastery.

We have come to the end of a Year dedicated entirely to the renewal of the faith in believers, but there remains the wish to keep alive the teaching we have received during these months”, said Archbishop Fisichella, who remarked that more than eight million pilgrims who have visited the tomb of St. Peter to profess their faith during this year. Likewise, he commented that to conclude the Year, “we have thought of a series of different 'signs' intended to demonstrate the continuity of faith and the path we are called to walk to prevent it from becoming obvious in everyday life”.

The first sign is given by the Pope Francis' planned visit to the Camaldolese nuns of the monastery of Sant'Antonio Abbate all'Aventino, Rome, where he will meet with the community. This day, which coincides with the anniversary of the entry into the convent of Sister Nazarena Crotta, the last recluse to live within its walls, will be dedicated to those who have chosen a cloistered life in order to dedicate themselves fully to a life of prayer and contemplation.

The second event will take place on Saturday 23 November, which will be dedicated to catechumens, with the theme “Ready to cross the theshold of faith”. More than five hundred catechumens will be present, accompanied by their catechists, from 47 different countries from all five continents. The Pope will receive 35 of them at the entrance of St. Peter's Basilica and will ask them the traditional questions that form the rite.

Finally, the Year of Faith will conclude with a Holy Mass on Sunday 24 November in St. Peter's Square at 10.30 a.m., and will be marked by three signs intended to highlight the importance of the moment: the exposition of the relics of St. Peter, the delivery by Pope Francis of his Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii gaudium”, and a gesture of charity towards the Philippine population. During the Eucharist, a collection will be carried out as a contribution by the Year of Faith pilgrims to those affected by the catastrophic typhoon in the Philippines.

Archbishop Fisichella concluded by mentioning that “often, accustomed as we are to emphasising elements of crisis, we forget to look at the many positive signs of hope that are genuinely present in the Church. The Year of Faith has enabled us to experience this. And it is for this reason that, supported by such impressive, enthusiastic and convinced witness, expressed especially in the silence of everyday life, we look to the future with greater serenity, strengthened by the experience of this Year, the positive effects of which we hope will be felt for a long time to come”.

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