By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
The first ever Sunday of the Word of God celebrated on the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time will take place on 26 January. This annual celebration was announced by Pope Francis in a Motu Proprio entitled Aperuit illis, published on 30 September 2019, the Feast of St Jerome. The Word of God Sunday, Pope Francis wrote in that Motu Proprio, “is to be devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the word of God”.
Responding to the Pope’s desire that “the Church experience anew how the risen Lord opens up for us the treasure of his word and enable us to proclaim its unfathomable riches before the world”, Prions en Église is making material accessible in digital and print formats. In a statement released by Bayard, its parent company, the editors of the missalette explained how their own mission coincides with Pope Francis’ thought expressed in the Motu proprio:
“These words contain a great teaching. The Bible cannot be just the heritage of some, much less a collection of books for the benefit of a privileged few. It belongs above all to those called to hear its message and to recognize themselves in its words” (no. 4).
The Word of God accessible today
Through both the French-language missalette, Prions en Église, as well as its English counterpart Living with Christ, Bayard has distinguished itself for over 30 years “in the field of accompaniment with the Word of God and making it accessible”, the statement said. Now they are making material even more accessible on their French-language Prions en Église web site, specifically for the occasion of this first Word of God Sunday.
On-line material for Word of God Sunday in French
Since 16 December, visitors to the site have found prayers, and other content available to help them pray with the Bible both personally and in group settings. In addition, visitors can find the Pope’s actual Motu Proprio Aperuit illis, and a 7-step process to “make Pope Francis’ letter their own”. Parishes can find 36 songs on the theme, and a guide for the how the Mass can be celebrated on 26 January. Material geared toward children is also available.
In addition, a Sunday of the Word community was created on Facebook. Here dioceses and parishes can exchange ideas for this first-time celebration of this now annual event in the Church. Prison chaplains will also be receiving hard copies of Prion en Église.
Material in English
Living with Christ in the United States and Canada has developed an App in addition to the hard copy Missalette. It contains material to accompany one’s spiritual life with the Word of God and the daily liturgy. The App is available in both English and Spanish. In addition, Twenty-Third Publications, a Catholic publisher in the Bayard Group, has published a booklet ideal for use in parishes. Short reflections and prayers taken from Pope Francis’ Motu Proprio make it the “perfect resource to celebrate the Pope’s words with everyone in the parish community”.