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From 12 to 72 the European cities on mission like the disciples

· Archbishop Fisichella on the prospectives of the New Evangelization on the Year of Faith ·

Benedict XVI will open the Year of Faith on 11 October, the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, with a celebration in the presence of synodal fathers engaged in the general assembly on the theme: “ The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith ”. Referring to this, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, gave and interview to our newspaper. The Prelate is also anticipating that “mission cities” will be extended from 12 to numbering 72 in Europe. These figures has symbolic value: it moves from the restricted number of apostles to those greater numbers of the first disciples sent out by Christ.

On 9 January the second meeting of those responsible for the “mission cities” was held in the Vatican, and the pastoral plan was signed by twelve major cities of the old continent. How did it go?

Since its first meeting in July last year, there has been an unexpected, great enthusiasm, on the part of the 12 cities involved in this sign of evangelization, common and participated. This vitality is witnessed by all the present cities, which see the mission as a real possibility for pastoral action, capable of impacting people’s daily lives. Lent was seen as a providential opportunity: that the reading of the Word of God, the bishop’s catechesis, the celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation, united with the sign of charity, can still be an evident sign of the commitment of Christians to proclaiming the Good News of Jesus in our day. It is positively striking how my proposal to extend in 2013 this experience to 72 major European cities has been received with unanimous approval. And that is no small thing.

The Pastoral Recommendations spread by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on 6 January directly call upon the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, by establishing – at the Dicastery – a special office, to coordinate the different initiatives regarding the Year of Faith. At what point are you?

We are at a good point, considering that there isn’t much time: we are planting down the secretariat, which will be a little bit of the soul of all initiatives. It – as the note says – will involve itself above all at the level of the Universal Church, in a particular way here in Rome in the presence of the Pope. We have already scheduled a meeting with the heads of dicasteries most directly involved in the Year of Faith, in order to set up an over all time-frame.

The document also states that the Secretariat will open a special website. How is that coming along?

We are working on a web page that would offer ever piece of useful information in order to live out effectively the Year of Faith and in order to enable communication between the different entities involved. In mid January we started a study with some communications experts as a way to get the portal ready for the right moment.

What other events does the Pontifical Council have going on in 2012?

First of all, we are expecting the opening of the Year of Faith to coincided with the Holy Father’s solemn celebration of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. This is a highly significant moment seeing as the Pope signed the Apostolic Letter on 11 October 2011, as if to remind us that deadlines are of such importance that they merit not only being remembered but being celebrated as well. It is the best way to commemorate this event that has certainly characterized the 20th century in the history of the Church, and therefore merits an entirely special celebration, also considering that all the synodal fathers working on the new evangelization and the transmission of the faith will be present.

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