Pope Francis has declared every Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, beginning this year, as “Sunday of the Word of God” to be celebrated in all Catholic Churches around the world. Since coming Sunday is the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, it means the first celebration of “Sunday of the Word of God” will take place this Sunday, 26th January 2020 in all Catholic Churches in the world.
Why “Sunday of the Word of God”?
According to Pope Francis the new celebration is to have a special day devoted to “the celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God”. The importance of the Word of God is to be emphasized on this Sunday.
When was it declared?
“The Sunday of the Word of God” was instituted by Pope Francis on 30th September 2019 through a special Apostolic Letter (Motu Proprio) called “Aperuit Illis”. “Aperuit Illis” is the Latin of the opening lines of the Letter taken from St. Luke’s gospel (“He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” – Lk 24:45).
How are we to celebrate “Sunday of the Word of God”?
According to the special Apostolic Letter estabilising “Sunday of the Word of God”, parishes can do some of the following to mark the day:
1. Enthronement of the Word of God. At Pope Francis’ suggestion, “enthrone the Word” in some prominent way and after the Gospel proclamation, the Book of the Gospels could be “enthroned” somewhere prominent in the sanctuary.
2. Emphasising the honour due to the Word of God and the centrality of the Bible for Christians.
3. Encouraging people to read and pray with Scripture daily, especially through the practice of Lectio Divina.
4. Celebrating the Rite of Installation of new Lectors or Commissioning of new Readers, where candidates are available.
5. Where there are no new Lectors, existing Lectors could be made to renew their commitment to ministry.
6. Training for Lectors.
7. Blessing and appreciation of Lectors, Psalmists, Leaders of Children’s Liturgy of the Word, etc.
8. Giving a Bible, or one of its books, to parishioners or at least to some of them.
And don’t forget the whole of 2020 is the Year of the Word of God so this makes coming Sunday’s celebration of “Sunday of the Word of God” very appropriate.
Now you know what to do:
1. Own a Bible
2. Read the Bible
3. Live the Bible
God bless you all.
…Fr. Anthony Agnes