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July 14, 2010
Conference to explore 'Scripture and God's plan for your life'
Scripture is the word of God, and through it we encounter Jesus Christ in a vivid and profound way. So I’m very happy that the Great Adventure Bible Study Program is once again this year hosting its National Catholic Bible Conference here in Denver. Many of our parishes have drawn new energy from the wonderful Catholic Bible studies that the Great Adventure Program offers. The work of Jeff Cavins and his associates has served the Church faithfully and well.
The Denver Archdiocese has a strong tradition of promoting devotion to sacred Scripture. This is easily evidenced by the two local co-sponsors of the conference, the Denver Catholic Biblical School and the Augustine Institute. The Biblical School began here 28 years ago with the goal of fostering the study of Scripture among the laity. Since then, it has pioneered a very successful model for other dioceses around the country. Many Colorado Catholics have attended the Biblical School, and have found it challenging and spiritually rewarding.
The archdiocese also has the benefit of a new, dynamic graduate school focused on adult lay Catholic education and leadership development, the Augustine Institute. Based here in Denver, the school offers high quality graduate study in catechesis and evangelization. It’s also one of the few Catholic institutes to offer advanced study in Scripture. With such institutions available to our local Church, hosting the National Catholic Bible Conference seems especially appropriate.
This year’s conference theme is “Scripture and God’s plan for your life.” The first line of the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” opens with this very theme, telling us that “God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness, freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life” (CCC, 1). Note that these opening words of the Catechism tell us at the outset what the goal of God’s plan is: that all of us should “share in his own blessed life.” This ultimate aim of God’s plan is too often overlooked by Christians today, yet it’s one of the central teachings of Scripture, one deeply connected to the biblical language and imagery of God’s “new creation.”
I remember a time growing up more than 50 years ago when nearly every Catholic family had a Bible in the home, but few Catholics made reading the Scriptures part of their daily routine. The good news is that today, many, many Catholics study and pray over the Bible. Scripture discussion groups are common. But just as our Christian faith is always personal but never private, so too our personal study of Scripture needs to be grounded in the wisdom and experience of the believing community. In other words, we incorporate God’s word most fruitfully into our lives when we seek out the mind of the Church about the meaning and the application of Scripture. And this, of course, is one of the greatest values of the Great Adventure Bible Study Program.
The National Catholic Bible Conference is one of the highlights of the year for the Church in Colorado. It’s a tremendous opportunity to hear the word of God shared and explained with arresting clarity and zeal. It’s a great pleasure for me personally to be part of it, and I enthusiastically invite you to do the same.
NATIONAL CATHOLIC BIBLE CONFERENCE
When: July 16-17
July 14: FOCUS Board of Directors meeting (10 a.m.)
July 15: Catholic Foundation Board of Trustees meeting, JPII Center (9 a.m.)
July 16: Mass, National Catholic Bible Conference, St. Thomas More Parish, Centennial (9 a.m.), keynote address to follow (10:30 a.m.)
July 17: 100th Anniversary Mass, St. Helena Parish, Ft. Morgan (5:30 p.m.)
July 18: Mass, Steubenville of the Rockies, Denver Convention Center (11 a.m.); Mass, Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (6:30 p.m.)
July 19: Ordination of Bishop-elect Eduardo Nevares, Phoenix (2 p.m.)
July 20: Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher Mass, St. Thomas More Parish, Centennial (6 p.m.)
July 21: Permanent Diaconate Program Candidacy Mass; Christ the King Chapel, JPII Center (7 p.m.)
July 25: Mass, Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (6:30 p.m.)
July 27-28: New and reassigned pastors workshop and Mass, St. Malo Retreat Center, Allenspark