By Alva Mulbah Wolokolie
Hundreds of parishioners at the St. Kizito Catholic Church on Sunday, November 10, 2013, assembled at the edifice of the Church to climax the “Year of Faith”.
The “Year of Faith” began on October 11, 2012, after the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI declared it in his Apostolic Letter. It is expected that the activities will end on November 24, 2013 around the world.
In other words, the “Year of Faith” is an opportunity for Catholics around the world to experience a conversion with Jesus Christ and enter into a deeper relationship with him. The Pope has described this conversion as opening the “door of faith” (Acts 1427). The “door of faith” is opened at one’s baptism, but during this year Catholics are called to open it again, walk through it and rediscover and renew their relationship with Christ and the Church. This year of Faith also marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Pope Benedict encourages Catholics during this “Year of Faith” to rediscover and share with others the precious gift of faith entrusted to the Church and the personal gift of faith that believers have each received from God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Since this pronouncement, the St. Kizito family has placed a lot of emphasis on activities marking the “Year of Faith”. The Church firstly organized a steering committee which has been hosting retreats, seminars, workshops, night vigils for diverse groups in the parish educating each person on the six Years of Faith themes. The themes include; the Faith Professed which focuses on the creed; the Faith Prayed, focuses on prayers; the Faith Celebrated, which focuses on sacraments; the Faith Lived, which talks about actions; the Faith Reflected, focuses on rest and reflection, and the Faith Shared which deals with charity and evangelization.
At the celebration on Sunday, the chief celebrant at the mass Rev. Fr. Francis Johnson encouraged Catholics around the world to remain steadfast in the faith and allow the Holy Spirit to supervise all activities.
Fr. Johnson told the congregation that Jesus Christ does not want the Church to have a divided faith and so he has mandated Christians to spread the teaching of his words.
“It is the manifestation of God to gather all of us into one body. Without obedience, it would be difficult to have faith in God. If you come to Church with your own God, we ask you to leave it outside the gate before entering here. We must know and practice our faith and prepare to communicate beautifully with others,” Rev. Fr. Johnson emphasized.
The Catholic prelate said the lack of fear has brought mankind to look like how it is today but indicated that anyone who does not have the fear of God is a foolish person leading the wrong path.
He urged Christians to experience the growth between holiness and perfection and should be reminded that the meaning of the Church is about service to the people. Fr. Johnson disclosed that the mother Church has shown to Christians the path to holiness and perfection. He encouraged Catholics to remain committed to the teachings of God because there is no prayer that goes to Him unanswered.
“The Church is divine and not human. I urge you not to be deterred; let the Holy Spirit do your talking. Do not be discouraged when they call you all sort of names; God in heaven knows your heart and how devoted you are,” Fr. Johnson added.