The celebration ties in with the Year of the God Who Speaks year, which 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 Hopes asked every parish across East Anglia to recommission all their readers at each of the Masses. The Bishop re-commissioning Readers at St John’s Cathedral in Norwich.
Among other parishes to take part were St Felix in Felixstowe where Fr John Barnes re-commissioning readers, and Our Lady of Good Counsel and St Peter in March.
Canon Mathew George re-commissioned readers at St Mary Magdalene in Ipswich while Fr Sean Connolly did the same at St George’s in Norwich.
Linda and Michael Saunders from St Mary Magdalen parish, Ipswich, said: “We found the re-commissioning in the presence of our fellow parishioners, a deep spiritual experience which will remain with us.”
Jean Johnson, a Reader at St Mary’s Ipswich and Kesgrave, said: “This was 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.”
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 the Sunday of the Word of God was 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 confirmed their willingness to continue in this ministry, priests blessed 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 up 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/
Pictured above (from top to bottom) is Fr Sean Connolly re-commissioning Readers at St George’s in Norwich, Canon Mathew George re-commissioning readers at St Mary Magdalene in Ipswich (picture by Michael Long), Readers in March (picture by Rebecca Bretherton) and Fr John Barnes re-commissioning Readers at St Felix, Felixstowe (picture by Stephen Badcock), below.
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