Pope Francis gives his backing to the Year of Faith

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Fr Adrian Graffy, Director of the diocesan Commission for Evangelisation and Formation, reports that Pope Francis has given enthusiastic backing to the Year of Faith. In his address to ecumenical leaders the new Pope described the initiative of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, as ‘truly inspired’. Fr Adrian said: ‘We are delighted that Pope Francis is giving such generous support to the Year of Faith, in which we are celebrating fifty years since the beginning of the Second Vatican Council. Pope Francis speaks of ‘a pilgrimage which is most essential for every Christian: the personal and transforming relationship with Jesus Christ, Son of God, who died and rose for our salvation.’’

Vatican II: St Peter's BasillicaIn this spirit of renewal the Commission for Evangelisation and Formation is proud to announce a series of talks on ‘The Legacy of Vatican II’, which will begin in the summer and end just before the Year of Faith comes to its conclusion on the Solemnity of Christ the King, which falls on Sunday 24th November.

Fr Adrian comments: ‘We have a splendid list of nine eminent speakers, many of them from the diocese. They will help us explore the lesser known aspects of the teaching of the Council, providing a kind of refresher course which is very timely in the Year of Faith and at the beginning of a new pontificate.’ As Pope Francis said: ‘the heart of Vatican II is the desire to announce the treasure of faith to people of today’.

The talks will be held on Thursday evenings at Brentwood Cathedral House conference centre. Admission is free and light refreshments will be available. Booking is not necessary. Full details are given on the flyer. For enquires please phone 01277 265289 or email cef [at] dioceseofbrentwood [dot] org

Download a flyer for the Thursday Evening lecture series, ‘The Legacy of Vatican II’

Rev Dr Adrian Graffy on Dei Verbum at Year of Faith Study Day

On Saturday, 9 March, 2013, Brentwood Cathedral Halls were nearly bursting at the seams to accommodate Essex and East London Christians who came to hear Rev Dr Adrian Graffy talk about Vatican II and the Bible.  He used the day to tell the story of Dei Verbum, the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, one of the four constitutions to come from that famous council which started just over 50 years ago.

By interweaving both his own anecdotes of life in Rome and his extensive biblical knowledge, Fr Adrian made the fascinating story of Dei Verbum a very personal narrative.  He introduced many of the influential participants, both those who would have liked to see as little change as possible, and those who would have liked the council to go much further and certainly those holding the conflicting positions of the relative importance of tradition and Scripture in Divine Revelation.  Fr Adrian made a story which took place in the 60s topical by showing how Joseph Ratzinger, then a young German priest and college lecturer, was instrumental in the work of the council in his capacity as the theological consultant to the Archbishop of Cologne.

Fr Adrian told the story of Dei Verbum through its many rewrites, through all four sessions of the council, through the controversies, through the personalities involved and through the diplomacy and wisdom which finally won the day.

This was the third Study Day which CEF offered as part of the Year of Faith series.  It has done as much as its predecessors to highlight the contemporary importance of a council that started fifty years ago.  It has awakened more interest in an assembly that accomplished far more than ‘make the priest turn around and get rid of the Latin.’  Two more Year of Faith Study Days are planned:  Rev Dr Peter Phillips speaking about Vatican II and the Church on 8 June 2013 and the Right Hon John Battle talking about Vatican II and Beyond on 12 October 2013.  Booking is essential, so if you’d like a place contact CEF on 01277 265289 or cef-at-dioceseofbrentwood.org.  As always the days are free of charge and include a light sandwich lunch.