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Recommendations regarding: Paragraph # in
Verbum Domini
Clergy
Bishops
Need for Bishops to read and meditate 79
Priests
Need to be familiar with the word of God
Need to explain unity between word and sacrament
Need to recognize importance of Scriptures
Need to support families
Proclaimer of Gospel
Use of Gospel Book
80
53
73
85
58
67
Deacons
Need to explain unity between word and sacrament
Need to support families
Proclaimer of Gospel
Use of Gospel Book
53
85
58
67
Seminarians
Need for hermeneutic of faith in formation
Need for integrated approach to biblical studies
47
82

 

Bishops should put reading and meditation on God’s word in first place

  • “For the nourishment and progress of his spiritual life, the Bishop must always put “in first place, reading and meditation on the word of God.”” (Verbum Domini 79)

Priests must become familiar with the word of God

  • “the priest himself ought first of all to develop a great personal familiarity with the word of God. Knowledge of its linguistic and exegetical aspects, though certainly necessary, is not enough. He needs to approach the word with a docile and prayerful heart so that it may deeply penetrate his thoughts and feelings and bring about a new outlook in him – ‘the mind of Christ’ (1 Cor 2:16)”.” (Verbum Domini 80)

There is a need to explain the unity between word and sacrament within the Church’s ministry

  • “the liturgy of the word is a decisive element in the celebration of each one of the sacraments of the Church”; in pastoral practice, however, the faithful are not always conscious of this connection, nor do they appreciate the unity between gesture and word. It is “the task of priests and deacons, above all when they administer the sacraments, to explain the unity between word and sacrament in the ministry of the Church”.” (Verbum Domini 53)

The word of God should have a central place in every aspect of Church life

  • “This does not mean adding a meeting here or there in parishes or dioceses, but rather examining the ordinary activities of Christian communities, in parishes, associations and movements, to see if they are truly concerned with fostering a personal encounter with Christ, who gives himself to us in his word. Since “ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ”, making the Bible the inspiration of every ordinary and extraordinary pastoral outreach will lead to a greater awareness of the person of Christ, who reveals the Father and is the fullness of divine revelation. For this reason I encourage pastors and the faithful to recognize the importance of this emphasis on the Bible: it will also be the best way to deal with certain pastoral problems which were discussed at the Synod and have to do, for example, with the proliferation of sects which spread a distorted and manipulative reading of sacred Scripture.” (Verbum Domini 73)

Families should teach the word of God to their children, joining with other families when necessary for prayer and meditation

  • Family: “Part of authentic parenthood is to pass on and bear witness to the meaning of life in Christ: through their fidelity and the unity of family life, spouses are the first to proclaim God’s word to their children. The ecclesial community must support and assist them in fostering family prayer, attentive hearing of the word of God, and knowledge of the Bible. To this end the Synod urged that every household have its Bible, to be kept in a worthy place and used for reading and prayer. Whatever help is needed in this regard can be provided by priests, deacons and a well-prepared laity. The Synod also recommended the formation of small communities of families, where common prayer and meditation on passages of Scripture can be cultivated.” (Verbum Domini 85)

Readers (Lectors) who proclaim the first or second reading during Mass require careful preparation and training

  • “The Synod on the Eucharist had already called for greater care to be taken in the proclamation of the word of God. As is known, while the Gospel is proclaimed by a priest or deacon, in the Latin tradition the first and second readings are proclaimed by an appointed reader, whether a man or a woman. I would like to echo the Synod Fathers who once more stressed the need for the adequate training of those who exercise the munus of reader in liturgical celebrations, and particularly those who exercise the ministry of Reader, which in the Latin rite is, as such, a lay ministry. All those entrusted with this office, even those not instituted in the ministry of Reader, should be truly suitable and carefully trained. This training should be biblical and liturgical, as well as technical: “The purpose of their biblical formation is to give readers the ability to understand the readings in context and to perceive by the light of faith central point of the revealed message. The liturgical formation ought to equip readers to have some grasp of the meaning and structure of the liturgy of the word and the significance of its connection with the liturgy of the Eucharist. The technical preparation should make the readers skilled in the art of reading publicly, either with the power of their own voice or with the help of sound equipment.”” (Verbum Domini 58)

The proclamation of the Gospel should be made more solemn

  • “the proclamation of the word of God, and the Gospel in particular, should be made more solemn, especially on major liturgical feasts, through the use of the Gospel Book, carried in procession during the opening rites and then brought to the lectern by a deacon or priest for proclamation. . . . it is good that the word of God, especially the Gospel, be enhanced by being proclaimed in song, particularly on certain solemnities. The greeting, the initial announcement: “A reading from the holy Gospel” and the concluding words: “The Gospel of the Lord”, could well be sung as a way of emphasizing the importance of what was read.” (Verbum Domini 67)

There is a need to explain the unity between word and sacrament within the Church’s ministry

  • “the liturgy of the word is a decisive element in the celebration of each one of the sacraments of the Church”; in pastoral practice, however, the faithful are not always conscious of this connection, nor do they appreciate the unity between gesture and word. It is “the task of priests and deacons, above all when they administer the sacraments, to explain the unity between word and sacrament in the ministry of the Church”.” (Verbum Domini 53)

Families should teach the word of God to their children, joining with other families when necessary for prayer and meditation

  • Family: “Part of authentic parenthood is to pass on and bear witness to the meaning of life in Christ: through their fidelity and the unity of family life, spouses are the first to proclaim God’s word to their children. The ecclesial community must support and assist them in fostering family prayer, attentive hearing of the word of God, and knowledge of the Bible. To this end the Synod urged that every household have its Bible, to be kept in a worthy place and used for reading and prayer. Whatever help is needed in this regard can be provided by priests, deacons and a well-prepared laity. The Synod also recommended the formation of small communities of families, where common prayer and meditation on passages of Scripture can be cultivated.” (Verbum Domini 85)

Readers (Lectors) who proclaim the first or second reading during Mass require careful preparation and training

  • “The Synod on the Eucharist had already called for greater care to be taken in the proclamation of the word of God. As is known, while the Gospel is proclaimed by a priest or deacon, in the Latin tradition the first and second readings are proclaimed by an appointed reader, whether a man or a woman. I would like to echo the Synod Fathers who once more stressed the need for the adequate training of those who exercise the munus of reader in liturgical celebrations, and particularly those who exercise the ministry of Reader, which in the Latin rite is, as such, a lay ministry. All those entrusted with this office, even those not instituted in the ministry of Reader, should be truly suitable and carefully trained. This training should be biblical and liturgical, as well as technical: “The purpose of their biblical formation is to give readers the ability to understand the readings in context and to perceive by the light of faith central point of the revealed message. The liturgical formation ought to equip readers to have some grasp of the meaning and structure of the liturgy of the word and the significance of its connection with the liturgy of the Eucharist. The technical preparation should make the readers skilled in the art of reading publicly, either with the power of their own voice or with the help of sound equipment.”” (Verbum Domini 58)

The proclamation of the Gospel should be made more solemn

  • “the proclamation of the word of God, and the Gospel in particular, should be made more solemn, especially on major liturgical feasts, through the use of the Gospel Book, carried in procession during the opening rites and then brought to the lectern by a deacon or priest for proclamation. . . . it is good that the word of God, especially the Gospel, be enhanced by being proclaimed in song, particularly on certain solemnities. The greeting, the initial announcement: “A reading from the holy Gospel” and the concluding words: “The Gospel of the Lord”, could well be sung as a way of emphasizing the importance of what was read.” (Verbum Domini 67)

A hermeneutic of faith is necessary in exegetical and theological formation, particularly for seminarians

  • A “hermeneutic of faith” has “necessary implications for exegetical and theological formation, particularly that of candidates for the priesthood.” (Verbum Domini 47)

Seminarians should be taught the relationship between biblical studies and scriptural prayer

  • “The Synod recommended that seminarians be concretely helped to see the relationship between biblical studies and scriptural prayer. . . . This end will be served if candidates are introduced to the study of Scripture through methods which favour this integral approach.” (Verbum Domini 82)
 
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Canadian Centre for Ecumenism
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