For generations of Catholics, the least opened item on the bookshelf was the family Bible. It would come out only when a name had to be inscribed as a birth, marriage or death.
Now, of course, many Catholics read the Bible, some daily. We owe this to the Second Vatican Council, which opened 50 years ago this coming autumn, and to a document from that council titled Dei Verbum, The Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation. This constitution urged “all the Christian faithful… to learn by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures the “excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:8). It stated unequivocally, “For ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.”
The successors of Blessed John XXIII, the convener of Vatican II, have reinforced this message. Just a few years ago, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI called a Synod on the Word of God. Afterwards, he wrote an exhortation titled Verbum Domini (The Word of the Lord). It would be great if you could read the whole document. However, if you are pressed for time, read this section.
Here’s why. The section is one of the reasons that since 2010, the Archdiocesan Catechetical Office and our good friends at the American Bible Society have co-sponsored the annual New York Catholic Bible Summit. This summit looks at the Bible from many of the aspects that Pope described.
This year’s summit is on Saturday, June 16, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at the New York Catholic Center, 350 East 56 Street in Manhattan. Our theme is “Joy and Hope in the Light of the Gospel.” It comes from another famous Vatican II document, Gaudium et Spes (Joy and Hope), The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World. We hope you will register for the Bible Summit and join us for an informative and inspiring experience.
We have two wonderful keynoters, Peter Cardinal Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace at the Vatican, and Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes, president of the Latin American Conference of Catholic Bishops. Our topics include Scripture and the New Evangelization, the environment, spirituality, history, prayer, discipleship and much more. Here are details on the topics and their presenters in English and Spanish. The apostolic nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, will be the principal celebrant and homilist at the opening Mass and our own archbishop, Timothy Cardinal Dolan will preside.
Hope you’ll join us on June 16. We’ll be looking for you.