“We celebrate Advent this year in the context of the ‘Year of Faith’, during which Pope Benedict XVI has called on us all to ‘acquire a more conscious and vigorous adherence to the Gospel, especially at a time of profound change such as humanity is presently experiencing.’ He calls us to rediscover the joy of believing and to generate a greater enthusiasm for communicating with confidence the joy and hope of the Gospel to the communities in which we live, work and take our leisure. During this Year we remember and celebrate 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.
The Season of Advent leads us into the celebration of Christmas, focusing on the Incarnation. At the heart of our faith is the person of Jesus Christ. We believe that he, true God and true man, was sent by his Father to redeem us from sin and evil, and to reconcile us to God and to one another. In him ‘we see made visible the God we cannot see’ and in building up our personal relationship with him in prayer, we are drawn into communion with the living God, Father, Son and Spirit. Through the gift of faith which we received in baptism, we are disciples of him who said, ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.’
This year the Holy Father is challenging us to deepen our relationship with the person of Jesus Christ in more frequent and regular times of prayer, and to spend time getting to know in greater depth the faith which we profess as Christians. That faith is summed up in the Creed, which we profess every Sunday at Mass, and is explained more fully in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Second Vatican Council reflected on those truths of faith in the light of the changed circumstances of the modern world.
…As we recall and reflect on our faith and the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, my hope is that we will all grow in our understanding of the faith we profess on our lips, and grow too in our personal relationship with the person of Jesus Christ in prayer.
+ Peter Smith, Archbishop of Southwark”