Catholics can prepare for the Christmas season and deepen their experience of the Year of Faith by strengthening their prayer lives, says the bishop who chairs the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis. Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin, offers “10 Prayers for the Year of Faith” at the start of the Advent season, a time of prayer, as a way of drawing Catholics more deeply into the Year of Faith. Pope Benedict XVI called for the Year of Faith, which began October 11 and ends November 24, 2013.
Bishop Ricken offers:
- The Nicene Creed. The Year of Faith is about returning to the foundational teachings of the Church and drawing strength from them. This prayer, which is the official prayer of the Year of Faith, articulates the core of Christian belief.
- The Lord’s Prayer. Like the Creed, the Our Faith is so central to the faith that it’s said at every Mass. The Year of Faith is also about encouraging the personal encounter with Jesus Christ. Praying the prayer he gave us brings us closer to him.
- The Hail Mary. Similarly, Mary will always assist Christians and bring them to her son.
- The Glory Be. This doxology, or short hymn of praise, beautifully captures the essence of our faith in an eternal, Trinitarian God.
- The Magnificat. The Canticle of Mary in the Gospel of Luke (1:46-55) gives a glimpse of the faith of someone who trusted God so much that he entered the world through her.
- The Canticle of Zechariah. Also found in Luke (1:68-79), this prayer is a vivid testament of faith from someone experiencing God’s goodness at work in the world.
- The Memorare. Another powerful Marian prayer, the Memorare reminds God’s people that Mary is our mother and that we can turn to her with anything.
- The Acts of Contrition, Faith, Hope and Love. Most people know the Act of Contrition from going to confession, but the Acts of Faith, Hope and Love are also wonderful for a Christian’s prayer life. They can all be found in the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
- The Angel prayers. Children learn the prayer to their guardian angel, and adults learn the prayer to St. Michael the archangel. Both are helpful reminders of the need to ask for God’s protection and guidance every day.
- Prayer for the New Evangelization. The purpose of the Year of Faith is to renew and strengthen Catholics in their practice of the faith so that they may inspire the world with their example. This is the New Evangelization. The Prayer for the New Evangelization can be found online: www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers/new-evangelization-prayer.cfm
More prayers for the Year of Faith are available online at: www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/new-evangelization/year-of-faith/prayer-in-the-year-of-faith.cfm
Advent resources from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are available at: www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-resources/advent/