VATICAN CITY (AFP) - Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday declared a "Year of Faith" starting on October 11, 2012 to mark the 50th anniversary of the start of the Vatican II Council which approved key Catholic Church reforms. "I would like to announce that I have decided to decree a year of faith," the pope said in his homily, addressing some 8,000 delegates taking part in a Vatican-hosted conference on evangelisation at a mass in St Peter's Basilica. He said it would give "a greater impulse to the mission of the entire Church to bring man out of the desert where he often finds himself, towards life and towards friendship with Christ who gives us this life in all its variety."