Rome (Italy). On 23 January 2022, the 3rd Sunday of the Word of God is celebrated all over the world, established by Pope Francis on 30 September 2019, liturgical memorial of St. Jerome, with the motu proprio Aperuit illis:
“A Sunday dedicated entirely to the Word of God, to understand the inexhaustible wealth that comes from that constant dialogue of God with his people” (Apostolic Letter Misericordia et misera, 7). Dedicating a Sunday of the liturgical year to the Word of God in a particular way allows, above all, to make the Church relive the gesture of the Risen One who opens up the treasure of His Word for us too so that we can be heralds of this inexhaustible wealth in the world.”
The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, in the press release announcing the anniversary, explains its meaning and logo:
“The Sunday of the Word of God wants to highlight the presence of the Lord in the life of humanity. He really walks with us and is present through the Word, as expressed in the Sunday logo, inspired by the biblical story of the Disciples of Emmaus on their way to retrace Scripture with the Lord, allowing themselves to be taught and enlightened”.
It also gives news of two significant moments that will take place during the Eucharistic Celebration that the Holy Father will preside, on 23 January 2022, in Rome in St. Peter’s Basilica:
– For the first time, the ministry of Lectorate and Acolyte will also be conferred on lay men and women. Pope Francis in fact, established by publishing the Apostolic Letter in the form of Motu Proprio Spiritus Domini and the Letter to the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on 10 January 2021, that the ministries of the Lectorate and the Acolyte are open to the laity in a stable and institutionalized form with a specific mandate, which in this celebration takes place and takes shape through a liturgical act. The ministry of the Lectorate will be conferred on some lay people representing the People of God from South Korea, Pakistan, Ghana, and various parts of Italy. Those who access the ministry of the Lectorate will be given the Bible, the Word of God they are called to proclaim.
– The Holy Father will confer the ministry of Catechist to some lay faithful, women and men from different countries of the world, established through the publication of the Apostolic Letter in the form of Motu Proprio Antiquum Ministerium, on 10 May 2021. To the Catechists, a reproduction of the pastoral cross used first by St. Paul VI, then by St. John Paul II, will be bestowed to recall the missionary character of the service they are preparing to administer.
In the motu proprio for the institution of this special Sunday, Pope Francis recommended that the communities find a way to live it as a solemn day and gave some concrete indications:
“It will be important, however, that the sacred text can be enthroned in the Eucharistic celebration, so as to make evident to the assembly the normative value that the Word of God possesses. On this Sunday, in a particular way, it will be useful to highlight this proclamation and adapt the homily to highlight the service rendered to the Word of the Lord”.
There are several initiatives of the local Churches to make Sacred Scripture more accessible to believers, to help recognize it as an immense and fruitful gift, to revive their responsibility in knowledge and “keep it alive through a work of permanent transmission and understanding”.
The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization has made available a pastoral liturgical aid for living the Word of God in community, in the family, and on a personal level, which can be downloaded in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian.
The Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) has prepared a handbook on the theme “Testimony of the Word”, in which it proposes biblical texts and ideas for liturgical prayer, for reflection starting from documents of ecumenical dialogue, and in front of artistic images.
San Biagio House of Prayer, of Subiaco (Rome), of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of the Province of St. John Bosco (IRO), which in its mission privileges listening to and deepening the Word of God, celebrates this recurrence in a particular way by organizing on Sunday 23 January at 3.30 pm (Italy time), a “relay race of online reading of the Word”. Further information will be available on the Facebook page.