WelCom December 2019
‘May the Sunday of the Word of God help his people to grow in religious and intimate familiarity with the sacred Scriptures.’
This is Pope Francis’ hope for this day he instituted in his Apostolic Letter published, 30 September 2019, as a new Motu Proprio, ‘Aperuit illis’, instituting the Sunday of the Word of God.
Pope Francis has declared the day to be on the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (26 January, in 2020).
Stressing how essential it is for Catholics to familiarise themselves with Christ’s written word, Francis highlights that ‘a day devoted to the Bible should not be seen as a yearly event but rather a year-long event.’
The Pope underscores how we ‘urgently need to grow in our knowledge and love of the Scriptures and of the risen Lord, who continues to speak his word and to break bread in the community of believers.’
‘For this reason,’ he says, ‘we need to develop a closer relationship with sacred Scripture; otherwise, our hearts will remain cold and our eyes shut, struck as we are by so many forms of blindness.’
The relationship between the Risen Lord, the community of believers and Sacred Scripture, Pope Francis stated, ‘is essential’ to our identity as Christians.
‘Without the Lord who opens our minds to them, it is impossible to understand the Scriptures in depth. Yet the contrary is equally true: without the Scriptures, the events of the mission of Jesus and of his Church in this world would remain incomprehensible. Hence, St Jerome could rightly claim: “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.”’
Francis expressed with this Apostolic Letter, that he wished to respond to many requests he received from the people of God that the entire Church celebrate, in unity of purpose, a Sunday of the Word of God.
NZ Bible Society CEO, Neels Janse van Rensburg, says the Bible Society’s website called The Word and launched this year, ‘aims to see more Catholics engaging in God’s Word, every day. Pope Francis’ announcement has highlighted the important role the Holy Scriptures play in our faith, as a living and breathing part of everyday life.’
The Word website features a range of content from Catholics in New Zealand including videos and blog posts to inspire and help people towards Bible reading. New content is added each week. www.theword.nz
– NZ Bible Society
Cardinal John Dew has completed his term as president of the Bible Society AGM. Standing down at the AGM on 6 August this year, he said, ‘It has been a pleasure and a privilege to be involved with the Bible Society during my six years as president. I am continuously amazed at the creativity and dedication of the staff, and the success they have in making many different forms of the Bible available to diverse groups of people, in New Zealand and overseas. The Society’s recently launched The Word, a website for Catholics, helps people get started with scripture reflection and provides daily readings and other aids.