The celebration ties in with the Year of The God Who Speaks, which is encouraging us to engage more deeply with the Scriptures and puts a special emphasis on the role of the Bible. Pope Francis has now made the third Ordinary Sunday in each year a Sunday of the Word of God.
In response to the Pope’s initiative, Bishop Alan has announced: “I am asking every parish to recommission all their readers on this day (January 26) at each of the Masses. This will also tie in with the Year of the ‘God who Speaks’ which is being celebrated throughout England and Wales. I will be recommissioning Readers at the Cathedral on that day.”
Jean Johnson, a Reader at St Mary’s, Ipswich and Holy Family, Kesgrave, said: “This is a good chance to reflect on the significance of what we do…The fact that it follows the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity reminds us of the fact that Scripture is of huge significance for all Christians.”
You can read about Jean’s love of Scripture in an earlier article here.
Rebecca Bretherton, from the Department of the New Evangelisation, added: “Many people won’t have had a formal commissioning before, since they were recruited informally. So Sunday January 26 will be an excellent chance for Readers to reflect on their ministry, and for parishes to express their gratitude through prayer for those who read Scripture and proclaim the Word of God at Mass.”
After the Readers have confirmed their willingness to continue in this ministry, the priest will bless them with these words:
“Everlasting God, when He read in the synagogue at Nazareth, your Son proclaimed the good news of salvation for which He would give His life. Bless these Readers as they proclaim your words of life, strengthen their faith that they may read with clarity, conviction and understanding, and put into practice what they read. We ask this through Christ our Lord.”
You can find out more about The God Who Speaks programme at www.cbcew.org.uk/home/events/the-god-who-speaks/
The picture above shows Jean Johnson, Reader at St Mary’s Ipswich and Holy Family Kesgrave