The year 2020 marks the 10th Anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s Verbum Domini (The Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on ‘The Word of the Lord’) and is also 1600 years since the death of the great lover of Scripture himself – St Jerome. Consequently, these anniversaries have inspired the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales to dedicate 2020 as a pastoral year for Catholics in our countries to focus particularly on the Bible and ‘The God who speaks’.
As this special Year of the Word unfolds, we are invited to allow our God in the Scriptures to renew and inspire, challenge and enliven our families, our parishes and every aspect of our lives as individual disciples of the Lord. Once again, our faith calls to be nourished and fed as we sit at the Lord’s feet and encounter His voice in the Sacred Scriptures.
St Jerome was born in the fourth century, in Dalmatia, and as a teenager he moved to Rome where he became a Christian and prepared a translation of the New Testament from Greek to Latin. He continued his work, as priest and monk, in Bethlehem, translating most of the Old Testament into Latin from Hebrew. Together, these translations became known as the Vulgate and they have shaped Catholics’ understanding of the Bible ever since.
For St Jerome, the life, death and resurrection of Christ presented in the Scriptures is unfolded in the life of the Church; in her teaching; in her Liturgy and in her works of charity. The Church is at the service of the Bible. At the same time, the Church is the interpreter and curator of the Bible. It was St Augustine of Hippo who insisted that we don’t have a Bible unless the Church gives it to us. The Bible is the ‘Book of the Church’, we read it in the presence of God in the Church.
Pope Benedict sums up this central theme of Verbum Domini through the inspiring and beautiful thought of St. Ambrose, “when we take up the sacred Scriptures in faith and read them with the Church, we walk once more with God in the Garden” (VD, §87.3)
This whole year is an invitation placed before us in our parishes, families and as individuals to come into a passionate dialogue with the Word of God in every context of lives and discipleship and to open our hearts anew to its treasures; to a re-found beauty and wholeness; to a new Springtime in our lives; to a new richness and maturity of faith through a strong and sustaining relationship with Christ.
The Bishops’ initiative underlines the central place of the Scriptures in the life and mission of the Catholic Church, and events, courses and fruitful celebrations marking the Bible in and around dioceses and parishes throughout England and Wales can be expected in the course of the year. Check out your local parish and get involved!
More information at these Links (The Diocese is not responsible for these):