Posts Tagged ‘Scripture’

It’s your Bible. Come celebrate it.

Friday, May 25th, 2012

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.

Tolle lege! Tolle lege! Then come find out more about Scripture.

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

“Tolle lege! Tolle lege!” “Pick it up and read it. Pick it up and read it.” That’s what children’s voices said to St. Augustine of Hippo when he was in despair ’way back in the late fourth century. The “it” was the Bible. He took the advice, picked up the Sacred Scripture,  and started to read Romans 13, 13-14. It changed his life…and ours, too, for that matter. That’s because Augustine went on to become one of the most influential philosophers of Christianity and of western civilization.

As Father Anthony Ciorra, a great friend of the Archdiocesan Catechetical Office, reminded our staff the other day, this is good advice for all us. The Bible is not simply that book that we pull off the shelf to record family births, weddings and deaths. It’s not just a wedding or religious jubilee gift. It’s the living Word of God, emphasis on living.

Sacred Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit to speak to all generations until the end of time. You could read the same passage on three different days or three different years, and discover each time that your understanding of that passage and of yourself is deepening.

Pope Benedict XVI, an admirer and scholar of St. Augustine of Hippo, released a wonderful exhortation recently, one that reminds us of the importance of picking up and reading our copies of the Bible. It’s called Verbum Domini and you might enjoy reading it.

Then do yourself a favor. Discover the liveliness, influence and relevance of the Word of God by coming to the Second Annual New York Catholic Bible Summit on Saturday, June 25, here at the Catholic Center and sponsored by the Archdiocesan Catechetical Office, the American Bible Society and Fordham University. It’s your chance to meet, hear and talk with some of today’s best scholars, historians, artists and musicians – a host of experts who will make Scripture a livelier experience than you ever dreamed. There will be workshops in both English and Spanish. Keynoters are the Rev. Donald Senior, CP, who edited the New American Bible and who is now president of the Catholic Theological Union; and the Rev. Gabriel Naranjo, CM, Secretario General de la Confederación Latinoamericana y Caribeña de Religiosas/os (CLAR) Bogotá, Colombia.  Among the many experts is New York’s’ own  Msgr. Robert Stern, president of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, who will speak about the Holy Land, ancient and modern. That’s a timely topic and will give added context to our reading of the Word of God.   Find out about the rest of our speakers and register today, so we can get you into the workshop of your choice. If you prefer registering by mail, you have that option, too.

Hope to see you there.

Make 2011 your “Matthew Year.”

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

This is just my personal opinion, but I think making ambitious New Year’s resolutions is a big waste of time. Most of them don’t last as long as a live Christmas tree in an apartment.

Instead, let me share a great idea with you. Father Chris at St. Patrick’s Cathedral proposed it in his homily at the Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God this past Friday evening.

Take 10 minutes day – at a time of your choosing – with the Bible. Father Chris suggested Matthew’s Gospel because we will be reading it a great deal this year. Whether you have a pocket Bible, a web site or a Bible app on your mobile device, keep it close to you. Here’s his suggestions for using those 10 minutes with Matthew.

For about a minute, just think about the fact that you are –as we all are at all times – in the presence of God. Then open your Bible to Matthew’s Gospel and begin reading it, just a few verses at a time. Take about four minutes to read it slowly, maybe more than once. Then, for the next three or four minutes, just open your mind to the Spirit of God and think about what you have read and what it means to you. Finally, say a meaningful Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6: 9-13).

That’s all. Just about 10 minutes could make all the difference in how you live each day this year.

Of course, if you are interested in a more in-depth look at Scripture, be sure to check out The New York Catholic Bible School, which is sponsored by the Archdiocesan Catechetical Office. This will involve a considerably larger commitment of time but if you have desire, do check it out.

And while I am it, may I suggest you circle the date of Saturday, June 25: the day of our second annual New York Catholic Bible Summit. More information will be available shortly on our Catechetical Office website.  We’ve a great line-up of speakers and topics this year.

May 2011 bring you peace and joy.