Sunday of the Word of God

The Third Sunday of Ordinary Time is the 'Sunday of the Word of God' - a day, instituted by Pope Francis on the Feast of Saint Jerome in 2019, devoted to the celebration and study of Sacred Scripture.

Sunday, 23 January 2022

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.

Pope Francis, Aperuit illis

Pope Francis will preside over the celebration for the Sunday of the Word of God on 23 January in St Peter’s Basilica. The Holy Father encourages every parish to devote this day to “the celebration, study and dissemination of the Word”.

To help the Catholic community in England and Wales celebrate the day, the God Who Speaks team has gathered together a number of resources.

Visit the God Who Speaks website.


The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization has a PDF that offers liturgical and pastoral resources for the day.

God Who Speaks
The God Who Speaks is the Bishops’ Conference Scripture initiative, in partnership with Bible Society, that nurtures a deeper Catholic engagement with the Bible. If you’re curious about the Bible, ‘The God Who Speaks’ is the place for you. Visit the website for great resources, events and ideas to help you deepen your faith and love of the Scriptures.

New ministries for lay men and women

The Sunday of the Word of God is a particularly special day as, during the liturgy, the Pope will confer new ministries on lay men and women.

The ministry of Lector will be conferred on both lay men and women. Previously, ministries were reserved only for men because they were considered preparatory to receiving Holy Orders.

The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization explained that the “well-established practice in the Church, however, has confirmed that lay ministries, founded on the sacrament of Baptism, can be entrusted to all the faithful who are suitable, whether male or female, according to what is already implicitly indicated by canon 230 of the Code of Canon Law, which the Pope has modified for the occasion.”

Also during the celebration, Pope Francis will confer the newly-established ministry of Catechist on several members of the lay faithful – both women and men.

Both ministries will be conferred through rites prepared by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, which will be used for the first time in Sunday’s celebration.

The candidates will be “summoned” before the homily — that is, they will be called by name and presented to the Church.