year of the word

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has dedicated 2021 as a year of focus on the Bible and ‘The God Who Speaks’.

The word of God in scripture shapes our prayer and worship

2020 is the 10th anniversary of Verbum Domini – Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Exhortation on ‘The Word of the Lord’ and the 1,600 anniversary of St Jerome’s death. These dates have inspired the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales to dedicate 2021 as a year of focus on the Bible and ‘The God Who Speaks’. During the year, we will be celebrating, living and sharing God‘s word with an exciting new Scripture initiative. It’s an opportunity to enrich current practice and to develop and explore new ways of responding to ‘The God who Speaks’.

Praise to you Eternal Word

To aid us in celebrating the Year of the Word, Alex Heath has written the hymn ‘Praise to you Eternal Word’ which is available here. The words of the hymn celebrate the power and beauty of God’s Word in our Salvation history; in creation, in Jesus Christ the Son of God – the Word made flesh for us – and as disciples who are called to listen to and live God’s Word in our daily lives. The lyrics sheet and powerpoint also include suggestions for a melody to sing it to as well as the words for the hymn.

The initial launch will be on the feast of St Jerome, 30 September 2019, with the Year formally beginning in Advent 2019 during the Mass for the Immaculate Conception at 11am on December 7, 2019 at the Cathedral.

Bishop Peter (now Emeritus) described the purpose of the Year in these words:

‘At heart we want to help everyone be prepared to hear the Word of God proclaimed in the liturgy.’

Each parish has been asked to commit themselves to training / refreshing those who proclaim the scriptures in the liturgy. NORES have sent all parishes a diocesan Readers Course which it is hoped many will find useful. More printed copies can be obtained from them, or downloaded here: Year of the Word Readers Course.

There was a formal commissioning of many who proclaim the word in the liturgy, on the Second Sunday of Advent.

Emeritus Bishop Peter prepared a pastoral letter about the importance of proclaiming and hearing the Word in the liturgy for the First Sunday of Advent 2019. The pastoral letter can be read here.