“We have always desired for a long time to have a year bearing the theme of the Word of God because for a long time, I have realized that it is very good for Christians to think about the Word, and generally read the Bible so that we can deepen the love we have for the Word of God and realize the benefits that accrue from reading, thinking and living God’s Word in our lives,” the 63-year-old Bishop explained.
“I really desire that they (Catholics in Murang’a diocese) can enter into the spirit of reading, listening and meditating on the word of God,” Bishop Wainaina told ACI Africa and added, “I therefore ask Christians to read the Word every day and to have some moments to meditate the Word of God every day so that this year can be fruitful and can give them the benefits that we desire.”
On his part, the Vicar General and Pastoral Coordinator of Murang’a Diocese, Fr. Charles Kibe, told ACI Africa that by celebrating the Year of the Word of God, the diocese intends to “create a culture of reading and sharing the word of God right from the family unit; make the Word of God better known, loved and lived; empower the faithful to proclaim the Word of God; proclaim the Good News to the ignorant; and promote authentic interpretation of the Word of God.”
Some of the activities planned for the year include Biblical seminars scheduled for the fourth Sunday of every month, two Biblical conferences each with a Biblical theme that is “biblically founded and pastorally oriented”; short courses on the Bible for clergy, religious and the laity; courses and talks on homiletics to clergy and liturgists; training of lectors; as well as short courses on Lectio Divina.
According to the diocesan pastoral guidelines of the Year of the Word of God in the Kenya’s Murang’a diocese seen by ACI Africa, the clergy are directed, after the proclamation of the Gospel and before kissing the Gospel passage, to bless the Christians using the same book.
The clergy have also been directed to facilitate the enthronement of the Word of God either within or outside Mass.
At the grassroots level, Christians in the diocese are encouraged to read the Word of God in all households, Small Christian Communities (SCCs) and at individual level guided by the liturgical calendar; hold public Bible processions to exalt the Word of God; have a Prayer Corner in every household with a Bible placed on a stand; have Bible study groups; and organize Bible reading marathons.
The yearlong celebration will have the benefit of a partial indulgence granted to each Christian “who devotedly read the word of God for at least a quarter of an hour with the great reverence due to the divine word and after the manner of spiritual reading,” the diocesan pastoral guidelines direct.
The partial indulgence will be granted on the condition that “one is a Catholic in a state of grace, with complete detachment from sin, even venial sin, must have confessed their sins through the sacrament of confession, and must receive Holy Communion within twenty days before or after 5th December 2020.”
In designating the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time as the Sunday of the Word of God, the Holy Father entrusted the initiative to the whole Church so that “the Christian community may concentrate on the great value that the Word of God occupies in its daily existence.”