We scarcely can imagine, the Pope writes, the inestimable treasure that is our Faith. Life without it would be hardly bearable. So much of our peacefully-ordered culture owes its prosperity to the Faith of our Fathers. Consider President Washington’s words in 1789: “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.” Our Founders’ humble faith in a Power greater than themselves enabled them to build a prosperous America. Our prosperity recedes, however, as our Faith recedes. Movies, TV programs, political speeches — all manner of public discourse, arts and entertainment — used to speak openly about God. Compare yesterday’s movies such as the Sound of Music and the Ten Commandments with today’s movies that ignore or mock faith in God. The Pope, while pointing out how much society has lost its faith, urges us to celebrate the Gift of Faith, and to recover it: “The ‘door of faith’ (Acts 14:27) is always open for us…. To enter through that door is to set out on a journey that lasts a lifetime.”
How will we celebrate this Year of Faith at St. Joseph’s? We begin by learning our faith better, because no one can believe what he does not know. Most Catholics know very little, perhaps not even the essentials, of Catholic doctrine. We must learn our faith more clearly and then teach it to others, especially to our own children. “In order to arrive at a systematic knowledge of the content of the faith,” writes Pope Benedict, “all can find in the Catechism of the Catholic Church a precious and indispensable tool.” We will celebrate this Year of Faith by studying our Catechism, like good boys and girls. I welcome you to our Catechism 101 Course, which begins June 18, and continues the third Monday of every month (see page 3).