Celebrating the Sunday of the Word of God, Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Bible open in prayer center

In recent years, I have been increasingly convinced of the notion that our lives are guided by a narrative that is shaped by many factors and influences from the day we were born. This narrative colors how we see ourselves, others, and all of reality, including God. This concept is very familiar to people participating in twelve-step groups, since the healing process involves eradicating unhealthy narratives (“stinking thinking”) and replacing them with a healthy narrative.

As Christians, the narrative that should form and guide us and our lives is the story of the salvation we find in Jesus Christ: a narrative of rescue, restoration, and reassurance (as described in my book, Living the Sacraments: Finding God at the Intersection of Heaven and Earth). In order for us to know this narrative, we need to know Scripture!

With that in mind, Pope Francis has declared that the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time will annually be observed as the Sunday of the Word of God, the first one taking place on January 26, 2020. Parishes are encouraged to incorporate ways to bring attention to the Word of God in our lives and to deepen people’s relationship with the Word:

  • Invite people to bring Bibles to Mass for a blessing.
  • Make Bibles available for those who do not have one.
  • Provide a guide for families to enthrone and bless a Bible at home.
  • Provide resources for people to pray with the Word of God daily.
  • Deliver a homily on the place of God’s Word in our daily lives.
  • Draw attention to existing groups, or begin Scripture study groups in the parish.
  • Offer a workshop on understanding the Bible.
  • Incorporate a blessing of lectors and Bible study leaders at Masses.
  • Provide excerpts and encourage reading and discussion of Church documents on Scripture, such as Dei Verbum.
  • Offer sessions introducing the practice of lectio divina.

I personally encourage you to use my outline for a Bible workshop for families based on my book, The Bible Blueprint: A Catholic’s Guide to Understanding and Embracing God’s Word. The workshop is called Introducing Catholics to the Bible: How to Host a Parent-Child Session, and it is free! Just click on the link in the preceding sentence, and fill out the form at the bottom of that page to receive your copy via e-mail.

You might also consider hosting a series of workshops based on The Bible Blueprint and using the free Leader’s Guide. You should also know that, when purchased in quantities of 15 or more, the book is only $6!

Be sure to explore the many valuable Scripture resources available from Loyola Press.

How is your parish going to mark the Sunday of the Word of God? What are you doing as a catechist to mark the Sunday of the Word of God?

About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.


    • You’re welcome, Bernadette. Let me know how it goes if you arrange this. You’re welcome to send pictures as well!

  1. Thank you very much for the offer od the Catholic’s Guide to understanding and embracing the Word of God. I hope this will help us giving seminars to Parish communities

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.