On October 11, 2011, Pope Benedict wrote an Apostolic Letter declaring that a “Year of Faith” would begin today, October 11, 2012.
This is not the first time a pope has called for a “year of faith;” popes have done so at other occasions, asking the faithful to dedicate themselves to deepening their understanding of a particular aspect of their faith. Pope Benedict described the year he has called as a “summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord.” In other words, an opportunity for us all to enter into a deeper relationship with Christ. His letter spoke of the “door of faith”, which is opened for us at Baptism: During this year, we are called to open that door wider and to walk though it.
The October 11, 2012 starting date of the Year of Faith was not accidental. That date is significant for two reasons: it is both the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II and the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Pope Benedict asked in his letter that Catholics spend time this year reflecting on the documents of Vatican II and on the catechism so that they may deepen their knowledge of their faith.
In answering the question how the Year of Faith affects the average Catholic, The USCCB said this:
Every baptized Catholic is called through baptism to be a disciple of Christ and proclaim the Gospel. The Year of Faith is an opportunity for each and every Catholic to renew their baptismal call by living out the everyday moments of their lives with faith, hope and love. This everyday witness is necessary for proclaiming the Gospel.
May this Year of Faith be a source of blessing for all of us.