Pope Francis with members of Italian BIblical Association  (VATICAN MEDIA Divisione Foto)

By Deborah Castellano Lubov

Sep 8 2023

Pope Francis meets with members of the Italian Biblical Association and participants in Italy’s National Bible Week, and calls for the Church to help the faithful draw closer to God through His Word.

Help nourish the faithful with the Word of God, especially at this decisive moment, where all must work together to promote Sacred Scripture.

Pope Francis gave this encouragement as he warmly greeted members of the Italian Biblical Association and professors of Sacred Scripture, gathered in Rome for Italy’s 47th National Bible Week, whose theme this year is “Covenant and Alliances between Universalism and Particularism.”

“Dear friends, go forth, go ahead in your mission to help God’s people be nourished by the Word, so that the Bible may be increasingly the heritage of all,” the Pope said.

Insisting that the Bible is “the book of the Lord’s people, which upon listening to it, passes from dispersion and division, to unity,” he said, “This is somewhat, always, the dynamic of the Lord: He sends and seems to disperse, but then He gathers in unity.” 

The Pope told those before him that their theme this year is close to his heart and a major concern of the Church, and thanked them for analyzing covenants which closely involve the Church’s relations with the contemporary world.

Working together in the service of the Word

Pope Francis pointed out that their meeting evoked another value he wished to emphasise, “that of working together in the service of the Word.”

The Pope commended this being at the heart of a wide-ranging work of cooperation that the Bible Association offers, on a permanent basis, to the Church in Italy.

He recalled that the organization was one of the first theological associations in the country, still very present in the various dioceses, especially through the animation of Diocesan Bible weeks, which it supports in collaboration with the Biblical Apostolate of the Italian Bishops’ Conference.

“I hope,” the Pope insisted, “that this presence grows throughout the territory, avoiding all forms of elitism and preclusion.”

“I hope that this presence grows throughout the territory, avoiding all forms of elitism and preclusion.”

Decisive moment requiring synergy

The Biblical Association, the Holy Father acknowledged, also works in collaboration with the Pontifical Biblical Institute, at a “decisive moment for the reform of the Pontifical Universities, where the alliance between academic institutions is not always easy.”

“However,” he continued, “for many of the Association’s members, the Pontifical Biblical Institute remains the ‘alma mater’ that generated them to research and apostolate.”

This, the Pope said, “offers an example of the synergy that urgently needs to be fostered, in Rome and elsewhere, between the various study institutes, not least to avoid running the risk of irreparable extinction.”

The Holy Father concluded by imparting his Apostolic Blessing and asking them to remember him in their prayers. – Vatican News