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10/12/2012 2:57:00 PM
Archbishop begins Year of Faith with Vespers Service, awards
Catholic Sentinel photo by Gerry Lewin
Servite Father Jack Topper, Franciscan Sister Anne Marie Warren, Russ Danielson, Cathy Shannon, Clint Bentz and St. Mary Sister Krista von Borstel accept the applause of the audience after receiving their Papal Honors Awards.
Catholic Sentinel photo by Gerry Lewin
Servite Father Jack Topper, Franciscan Sister Anne Marie Warren, Russ Danielson, Cathy Shannon, Clint Bentz and St. Mary Sister Krista von Borstel accept the applause of the audience after receiving their Papal Honors Awards.

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Archbishop John Vlazny presents the Papal Honor Award to Cathy Shannon.

Archbishop John G. Vlazny opened the Year of Faith for the Archdiocese of Portland with a Vespers Service at St. Mary’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

Pope Benedict called for a Year of Faith to be celebrated beginning Oct. 11 and continuing until Sunday, Nov. 23, 2013, the Solemnity of Christ the King.

The event was chosen to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. The year also coincides with the 20th anniversary of the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church by Blessed Pope John Paul.

"So often when we talk about faith, we focus on the truths we believe and the values we share," said Archbishop Vlazny during his homily. "But, at heart, faith is a relationship, a loving and salvific relationship with our great God."

The archbishop said that during the Year of Faith, Catholics are being asked to focus on three aspects: catechesis; the liturgy; and charity.  

"When we keep all three dimensions of our Catholic faith operative, then we really give the Holy Spirit an opportunity to work in us and through us, so that we can be more effective in carrying out our church’s evangelizing mission, namely, to build the kingdom of God here on earth," he said.

As part of the archdiocesan opening of the Year of Faith, Archbishop Vlazny conveyed papal honors to six members of the archdiocese. The Pro Ecclesia Et Pontifice cross was presented. The English translation for the cross is “For Church and Pope.” Those honored were:

• Servite Father Jack Topper; director of the National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother – the Grotto.

• St. Mary Sister Krista von Borstel; a member of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon and the director of CYO/Camp Howard.

• Franciscan Sister Anne Marie Warren; Major Superior of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows. The Sisters of her community operate the Our Lady of Peace Retreat House in Beaverton

• Clint Bentz; chairman of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council for the past six years.

• Cathy Shannon; director of the Archdiocesan Office for Child Protection and Victim Assistance. She previously served as the director of the Archdiocesan Office for Religious Education.

• Russ Danielson served as Chief Executive of Providence Health Services in Portland.  He also has served as a member of the Board of Directors of Mount Angel Seminary.

"[These] six individuals have been special helpers to Jesus and this church in establishing and strengthening our God’s covenant relationship with His people," said the archbishop. "The Holy Father has conferred upon them the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal in appreciation for their living faith.  You know them well and many of you are here this evening because of them.  I am grateful to you for the support you give our church through each one of them."

Other archdiocesan events scheduled as part of the celebration of the Year of Faith include:

The Archdiocesan Pastoral Assembly, which will be held Nov. 16 – 17 at St. Pius  Parish. The Pastoral Assembly is a gathering of pastors, parish administrators and representatives from each parish council.  The purpose of the assembly is to strengthen parish councils, address archdiocesan pastoral priorities and to elect representatives to serve on the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council.  The theme for this year’s Pastoral Assembly is “Setting Faith Afire.”  The keynote speaker will be Kate Barrett, campus minister, University of Notre Dame.

A Year of Faith Mass will be held at St. Mary’s Cathedral on the Vigil of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Dec. 7.

During the Lenten season, the Year of Faith will focus on the sacrament of reconciliation, and parishes will provide opportunities to celebrate that sacrament.  Parishes will also be using the Living the Eucharist program for faith enrichment.

The Archdiocesan Pastoral Ministry Conference will be held in the spring of 2013.  This gathering is for priests and pastoral ministers of the archdiocese who come together for prayer, professional development and faith enrichment and formation.

Information on the Archdiocese of Portland’s events for the Year of Faith can be found on the archdiocesan website: www.archdpdx.org

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has set up a website of resources emphasizing the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church: www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/new-evangelization/year-of-faith/. 

The official Year of Faith website for the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization is www.annusfidei.va/content/novaevangelizatio/en.html.

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