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Mass to celebrate 50th anniversary of Vatican II will be celebrated Thursday in Braintree

The Roman Catholic Arch­diocese of Boston will mark the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council Thursday with a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley.

Mass will be said at noon at Bethany Chapel at the Pastoral Center in Braintree.

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Also on Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI will open the Year of Faith during Mass in St. ­Peter’s Square.

The Year of Faith is an initiative by the pope to involve people in the “New Evangelization,” an outreach focused on the baptized who have become inactive in their faith.

“Evangelization must be the first focus of our church,” O’Malley wrote in his June 2011 pastoral letter. “Then, the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, which result from living and sharing the Gospel, will transform the culture around us. Evangelization includes working for justice and caring for the material needs of ­others.”

O’Malley appointed Bishop Arthur L. Kennedy to serve as episcopal vicar for the new evangelization.

After being appointed, ­Kennedy wrote, “While the ‘classical’ evangelization sought converts in missionary lands, the ‘new’ evangelization seeks them closer to home among those who have drifted away from the faith into which they were baptized or because of dominance of cultural secularization, they may never have had any encounter with the Living God.”

The Second Vatican Council, popularly called Vatican II, was convened by Pope John XXIII in 1962 and led to numerous reforms within the church.

The Mass will also mark the 20th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Melissa Werthmann
can be reached at melissa.
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