Word of God Sunday is on Sunday 26th January 2020, falling close to the Day of Dialogue between Jews and Catholics and the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It is a new annual observance announced by Pope Francis last year on 30 September 2019 on the Feast of St Jerome, the fifth-century saint who translated the Bible from Greek and Hebrew to Latin. The announcement was made in Aperuit Illis .
This day to be devoted to the celebration, study, and spreading of the Word of God. Pope Francis is clear from the very first paragraph of his letter that the relationship between the Risen Lord, a community of believers, and sacred Scripture is essential to who we are as Christians.
“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,” the pope wrote.
Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, told Vatican News on September 30th, that added emphasis on the importance of the Word of God is needed because “the overwhelming majority” of Catholics are not familiar with sacred Scripture. For many, the only time they hear the word of God is when they attend Mass, he added. “The Bible is the most widely distributed book, but it also perhaps the one most covered in dust because it is not held in our hands”.
With this apostolic letter, the Pope “invites us to hold the Word of God in our hands every day as much as possible so that it becomes our prayer” and a greater part of one’s lived experience, he said.
Pope Francis said in the letter:
“A day devoted to the Bible should not be seen as a yearly event but rather a year-long event, for we urgently need to grow in our knowledge and love of the Scriptures and of the risen Lord, who continues to speak his word and to break bread in the community of believers.”
Sacred Scripture and the sacraments are inseparable, he wrote. Jesus speaks to everyone with his word in sacred Scripture, and if people “hear his voice and open the doors of our minds and hearts, then he will enter our lives and remain ever with us,” he said.
See the following useful links for further information links:
Pope Francis declared special Word of God Sunday
Link to Vatican Document – Aperuit Illis
Resources for ‘Sunday of the Word of God’ from the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference