A national Bible conference held at the historic venue of Ushaw College, near Durham, has been affirmed as beginning a potential ‘sea change’ in the Catholic Bible apostolate in England and Wales.
Bishop Peter Brignall (Wrexham) and member of the Bishops’ Conference Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis, attended the Word of the Lord conference, 24 – 26th April, along with more than 70 delegates from across England and Wales. He commented:
“This gathering is the first of its kind in a generation. The Word of God lies at the heart of Catholic life and initiatives such as this conference are pivotal to encouraging others to read, study and pray with the Scriptures. The conference is one of a series of bible-focused initiatives that have been generated by a new working group established by the Bishops’ Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis in partnership with Bible Society. It’s hoped that more and more people will receive the invitation to listen to and proclaim, through many different means, God’s Word, which is the Word of Life.”
Other contributors to the conference included Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP, former Master of the Dominican Order worldwide and Dom Henry Wansbrough of Ampleforth Abbey, one of the leading Catholic Scripture scholars in England and Wales.
Among many speakers was Group Chief Executive of Bible Society, James Catford, who was presented with an icon of Saint Mark in appreciation of the assistance provided by the Society to organise the conference. He said:
“This conference represents an exciting next step in our journey together with the Scriptures. The themes of the conference have challenged us to consider afresh how we pass on God’s word in the written scriptures, through the Arts and through the witness of our lives. It has been a timely invitation to ‘be the word’ for others.”
One of the highlights of the conference was the launch of a new study guide, entitled The Word of the Lord, produced by the Department and published by the Catholic Truth Society.
The guide is designed to assist reading of Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini which was issued in response to the Synod of Bishops on the Bible held in Rome in 2008. Delegates also visited Durham Cathedral and prayed at the tomb of the Venerable Bede, doctor of the Church, and patron of Scripture scholarship in these lands.
Fr Adrian Graffy, who helped write the guide, said:
“The whole event was so energising. The delegates were so positive and the speakers excellent. In the Year of Faith it was an opportunity to deepen our appreciation of Scripture at the heart of the Church in this country and to make plans for the years ahead.”
Word of the Lord – Discovering ‘Verbum Domini’ is available from CTS priced £4.95
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