Pope calls Catholic Church to Celebrate a Sunday of the Word of God

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Pope Francis has instituted a day dedicated to celebrating the Word of God.

In a Motu Proprio – a personal decree of the Pope – titled ‘Aperuit illis’, Pope Francis has declared the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time the ‘Sunday of the Word of God’.

This will typically take place in late January.

“Devoting a specific Sunday of the liturgical year to the Word of God can enable the Church to experience anew how the risen Lord opens up for us the treasury of his word and enables us to proclaim its unfathomable riches before the world,” the Holy Father writes.

The Pope had proposed a Sunday dedicated to deepening our understanding of Scripture at the conclusion of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy in 2016.

Making the announcement in his Motu Proprio, Pope Francis wrote:

“I hereby declare that the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is to be devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the word of God… It is important, however, that in the Eucharistic celebration the sacred text be enthroned, in order to focus the attention of the assembly on the normative value of God’s word. On this Sunday, it would be particularly appropriate to highlight the proclamation of the word of the Lord and to emphasize in the homily the honour that it is due. Bishops could celebrate the Rite of Installation of Lectors or a similar commissioning of readers, in order to bring out the importance of the proclamation of God’s word in the liturgy.

“In this regard, renewed efforts should be made to provide members of the faithful with the training needed to be genuine proclaimers of the word, as is already the practice in the case of acolytes or extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. Pastors can also find ways of giving a Bible, or one of its books, to the entire assembly as a way of showing the importance of learning how to read, appreciate and pray daily with sacred Scripture, especially through the practice of lectio divina.”

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