On Sunday November 24th, The Year of Faith will officially come to a close with a Papal morning Mass in St. Peter's Square. At 10:30 a.m. Rome time, thousands are expected to flock to the Vatican to take part in the Mass.
The purpose of the Year of Faith, was to deepen the faith of Catholics by first having them fully understand the reasons behind the Church's teachings. Then, by inspiring them to share their faith with others.
On Sunday, as part of the Mass, Pope Francis will proclaim his very first apostolic exhortation. The name of the new document is 'Evangelii Gaudium,' which translates to 'The Joy of the Gospel.'
It summarizes the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization. It will include ways in which the Gospel can be shared successfully, especially in secularized countries. It will also highlight the responsibility Christians have in spreading the Gospel.
Historically, perhaps what's most striking about the Year of Faith, is that it was ultimately carried out by two Popes.
The initiative was launched by Benedict XVI on October 11th, 2012. It included several Masses, lectures, debates, presentations and exhibits meant precisely to inspire a yearning to learn and to share the Catholic faith.
As it draws to a close, St. Peter's relics will be showcased on November 24th, for the very first time. In light of the deadly typhoon that struck the Philippines, a collection will be held during Sunday's Mass to help victims.
It was a historic year for the Vatican and for the Universal Church as a whole. Now it will be Pope Francis who will conclude the Year of Faith and announce how the New Evangelization should be carried forward.