The two events also have a take on a special meaning for the Philadelphia archdiocese because of an international gathering it will tentatively host in 2015.
"We see the Year of Faith and this synod on the new evangelization as an antechamber to that celebration of the World Meeting of Families, to get people enthusiastic about being host to it," Archbishop Chaput said.
Speaking about the New Evangelization itself – presenting the Gospel anew to people in the 21st century –Archbishop Chaput said that cultural versus authentic Catholicism is a big hurdle.
"Philadelphia has a strong Catholic history," he explained, "but the danger in having a strong Catholic history is that sometimes it takes the faith for granted.
"I think that part of my responsibility in Philadelphia will be moving all of us from being cultural Catholics to being evangelical Catholics. That's a difficult task. Sometimes it's easier to bring people along who don't identify themselves as Catholics, than people who are Catholic historically and don't practice it but think that they know everything and are Catholic already. In some sense they're less open to the stirrings of the Holy Spirit.
"It's a big task ahead, but with the Holy Spirit's presence, we can always do great things," he said.
Shortly after his interview with CNA, Archbishop Chaput celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving in St. Peter's Basilica in honor of St. Kateri Tekakwitha. Accompanied to music from a Native American band and choir, thousands of worshipers packed the basilica. The homily was given by Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany, N.Y., where St. Kateri came from.
"She gives a truly counter-cultural example to live chastity today," Bishop Hubbard said of the first Native American women recorded as making perpetual vows of virginity. "Her life serves as an antidote to the individualism of our age…of showing the acceptance of the Cross of Christ par excellence."
He noted that St. Kateri, whose face was scarred with small pox, died "with the last words, 'Jesus, I love you.'" And just after she died, the priests at her bedside reported that "the scars that had ruined her face from childhood were healed miraculously."