A number of times I have already written to you about the Year of Faith, proclaimed last Fall by Pope Benedict XVI and continuing until the Feast of Christ the King, Sunday, November 24, 2013. A major theme of the Holy Father’s letter on the Year of Faith is Baptism, the beginning of our life in Christ, and the moment in which – in the context of our Baptismal promises and Profession of Faith, we are given the gift of supernatural faith.
At the beginning of the Apostolic Letter, we read “The door of faith is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church…To enter through that door is to set out on a journey that lasts a lifetime. It begins with Baptism, through which we can address God as Father, and it ends with the passage through death to eternal life, fruit of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, whose will it was, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, to draw those who believe in him into his own glory.”
In January, on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, parishioners were invited to renew the promises of Baptism, and in so doing draw closer to Jesus Christ. On Easter Sunday we will all be invited to renew our baptismal promises. Especially this year, I hope the renewal and sprinkling with baptismal water will be repeated on some of the other Sundays of the Easter Season.
Our Diocesan Committee for the Year of Faith designated this Sunday, March 10, 2013, as Baptismal Pilgrimage Sunday. I have asked that all the parishes, through the Sunday morning Masses until 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon, would make people welcome so that the faithful might visit, if possible, the church of their Baptism. At the font, you may make the profession of faith in any legitimate form, and receive the Year of Faith indulgence. Many may have been baptized far away, or circumstances may prohibit some from making a longer pilgrimage. In those cases each person may make a visit at one of the Cathedrals or other designated churches. If that is impossible then you may make the ‘pilgrimage’ at your own parish church.
The churches (chapels) designated as Pilgrim Churches for the Year of Faith are:
• Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Kansas City, Missouri
• Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph in St. Joseph, Missouri
• Abbey Basilica of Conception Abbey, Conception, Missouri
• MIR House of Prayer, St. Joseph, Missouri
• Our Lady of Good Counsel, Diocesan Shrine of the Divine Mercy, in Kansas City, Missouri
• Holy Rosary Parish in Clinton, Missouri
• Our Lady of Perpetual Help, “Redemptorist,” in Kansas City, Missouri
• Franciscan Prayer Center, in Independence, Missouri
I hope that all of our parishes will remain open Sunday through the morning Masses and until 2:00 p.m. so that visitors can participate in this pilgrimage of faith. May this Year of Faith be the occasion of a renewal of faith in the hearts of us all.
Finally, I know that we are all praying for the Cardinal Electors as they gather in Conclave to choose the next Pope. Come Holy Spirit! Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us!