Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

As we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Archdiocese, we look back… on July 18, 2010 when a Centennial Mass was celebrated in honor of St. Margaret of Scotland (Waterbury) Church.
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The Merry Catholic

More and more parishes are now offering a Catholic Bible study. Just the term “Catholic Bible study” strikes many people as odd, as if it was a pair of incongruous ideas, kind of like government efficiency, or Kardashian modesty or Donald Trump humility.

Some Catholics feel Bible studies are for other religious groups. “We’re Catholic,” they say, “We have the Mass and the sacraments. We don’t do Bible.”

Well, actually, we Catholics DO do Bible. In fact, the vast majority of the words spoken or prayed or sung during Mass come straight from the Bible.

One of the most fascinating aspects of a Catholic Bible study is watching people who have never even cracked open a Bible in their entire lives come to realize they are familiar with the stories and the dialogue and the majestic phrases. They’ve been hearing those words all their lives at Mass – they just didn’t know where it all came from.

Another great thing about a parish Bible study is that you actually get to learn the names of some of your fellow parishioners. Hey, let’s face it, we Catholics know everybody in the parish – by face. For example, in the supermarket, we recognize someone right away. “Oh, I know her,” we think. “9:30 Mass. Fourth pew on the left.” Do we know her name? Of course not.

At Bible study, you will learn not only the Bible, but other people’s names. It’s terrific.

We should keep in mind the fact that the Bible is a Catholic book. In the early years of Christianity, there were many different writings floating around that discussed the life of Jesus and offered instructions on how to live the Christian life. When it was finally determined in the 4th century which of these writings were indeed divinely inspired, and therefore should be included in the sacred Scriptures, those writing were compiled by, guess who? The Catholic Church. It’s our book!

Unfortunately, there is a persistent rumor floating around that we Catholics are not allowed to read the Bible – or at least, that we’re not encouraged to do so. This is quite wrong. The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly states, “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.” The Catechism also says that all the faithful should frequently read the divine Scriptures.

If your parish does not have a Bible study, ask your pastor or deacon to start one. But be careful. I did that 10 years ago and the pastor promptly put me in charge of it. I’ve been leading our parish Bible study ever since. Not that I’m complaining – even though it sounds like I am. I love doing it.

And just last month the pastor doubled my salary! (Right, two times zero equals….)

If your parish currently has an active Bible study, please join it. Despite popular opinion, there is nothing in the Ten Commandments that says, “Thou shalt not go to church for more than one hour per week.” It is perfectly acceptable to offer another hour of your time each week to matters of faith. And the parish Bible study is the perfect activity in which to invest your extra hour.

When you first begin to attend the Bible study, it may seem a little intimidating, but I promise, soon you’ll feel much more comfortable. If you’re unsure whether to get involved, just remember what the Bible says: “God helps those who help themselves.” And when you do get involved with a Catholic Bible study, you’ll learn a lot of exciting new things, including the fact that the phrase “God helps those who help themselves” is actually not in the Bible.

Bill Dunn is a free-lance writer who resides in Torrington. His most recent book is titled The Gospel According to Morty. He can be contacted via his blog at MerryCatholic.blogspot.com.

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.