What it is…

Literally, “The Way of Life”. What we mean by it is, “The Way to Christian Life”. It is a framework through which we faithful can discover and develop a more personal, intentional, and meaningful relationship with Christ, the Church, and our Catholic Faith.

The purpose of Via Vita

Via Vita’s purpose is twofold. The first is to help Catholics understand and live out their baptismal promises by inviting everyone to immerse themselves in the cycle of seasons, themes, celebrations, and prayers that make up the liturgical year. The second purpose is to instill a sense of confidence in every layperson, regardless of their capacity within the parish community, to share their faith and inspire others to encounter Christ.

The purpose of Via Vita

Via Vita’s purpose is twofold. The first is to help Catholics understand and live out their baptismal promises by inviting everyone to immerse themselves in the cycle of seasons, themes, celebrations, and prayers that make up the liturgical year. The second purpose is to instill a sense of confidence in every layperson, regardless of their capacity within the parish community, to share their faith and inspire others to encounter Christ.

Why the name…

It is the first name associated with Christ’s community of disciples. Apparently, after Jesus proclaimed that he was “the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14:6), something about the phrase resonated with the communities surrounding Jerusalem, and his disciples came to be known as followers of “the Way”. For the disciples, it may have helped codify their belief in Christ and the new life that naturally extended from that belief. But for the Jewish elders, chief priests, and faithful, the name denoted an increasingly unruly sect of God’s chosen people. To the Hebrews, followers of “the Way” repudiated the old covenant in favor of a new covenant with a false god and a blasphemous prophet. They could not accept Jesus’ own admission: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill” (Mt. 5:17).

It is interesting to note that in the Acts of the Apostles St. Paul refers to “the Way” only when speaking to his Jewish brethren about Christ and his followers. When brought before the Roman proconsuls and king, Paul preached the Gospel—giving the Gentiles a context for belief that the Jews already had and took for granted. It wasn’t until the Hellenized world heard the good news and, comprehending the whole of salvation history from a completely foreign perspective, bestowed the name of “Christian” on the body of Christ’s faithful (Acts 11:26). As the Gospel spread throughout the world, what was known around Jerusalem as “the Way” was subsumed by the name of Christian until the Catholic faith was universally recognized as its own distinct faith tradition.

© 2021 Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton | Lake Ridge, VA