Rev. Deeley said St. Michael Parish is a product of Vatican II where everyone is welcomed and lay people have significant roles in many facets of the church from the parish council and through its many ministries from visiting the sick and helping the poor.
Rev. Deeley said the Bible study during the “Year of Faith” will help Catholics reflect on their faith.
“It’s an opportunity to look at Vatican II to reflect on what our beliefs and faith are and reflect on our faith through these documents,” said Rev. Deeley, a priest for 38 years. “It will help us go back, read and see how we’re living up to that, although there’s still room to grow.”
The Rev. Timothy Kearney, pastor of All Saints Parish in Haverhill said Vatican II was called to address the problems of the world during the aftermath of World War II.
“It was also a way to strengthen the church to face future problems,” said Kearney, a priest since 1996. “Some of those challenges were unforseen but we were able to respond to them because of what we learned from Vatican II.”
Another aspect of Vatican II was having Catholics return to their roots. The document not only wanted the faithful to focus on the past 300 years, but to study scripture and history from the first 600 years of the church.
“We’re inviting people who have been away to return and those who are in the church to renew their faith; what they actually believe in,” Kearney said.
The Second Vatican Council also called for ensuring dialogue with other religions.
“It’s the charter that we use in the work we do and guides us in the center,” said Joseph Kelley, director of the Center for Christian-Jewish-Muslim Relations at Merrimack College. The center’s goal is to educate students and area citizens and to increase mutual understanding and prevent prejudices against peoples of different beliefs.