Vol. XX, No. 2
News and Views
Verbum Domini II: “God’s Word goes out to the nations” is an exhibit at St. Peter’s Basilica that gathers together more than 200 historical texts and rare Bible artifacts that tell the story of the Bible’s journey around the world.
The exhibit is sponsored by the Museum of the Bible, and will be in the exhibit hall in the Charlemagne Wing of St. Peter’s from April 2 to June 22, 2014.
The Vatican news release said that the works that make up the Verbum Domini exhibition “belong to the Green Collection, the Vatican Library, the Vatican Museums, and other institutional and private collections in the United States and Europe, and include: a page of the Papyrus Bodmer XIV-XV, a manuscript created around the year 200 which contains much of the text of the Gospels according to Luke and John; a double page of the famous Codex Vaticanus, a manuscript on parchment from the first half of the fourth century; and the Codex Claromontanus of the fifth and seventh centuries, valuable evidence of the Gospels translated into Latin in the Vulgate of Saint Jerome.”
The speakers at the Vatican press conference were Cary Summers, Chief Operating Officer of the Museum of the Bible; Father José Maria Abrego de Lacy SJ, rector of the Pontifical Biblical Institute; Ambrogio M. Piazzoni, deputy prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library; and Monsignor Melchor José Sánchez de Toca y Alameda, undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture
The Museum of the Bible was organized in 2012 by Steven Green, president of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. Since 2009, Mr. Green has assembled the world’s largest private collection of rare biblical texts and artifacts, including more than 40,000 antiquities. In 2012, a building in central Washington, DC was purchased to house the Green Collection. The as-yet-unnamed museum is expected to open in 2017. They also organized the Green Scholars Initiative, dedicated to a scholarly approach of the history, story, and impact of the Bible.
Admission to the Vatican’s Verbum Domini exhibit is free, and allows visitors to discover how the Word of God has gone out to the nations and been made accessible to many cultures while remaining faithful to the original Greek and Hebrew texts.
After the Verbum Domini exhibit launch, the Green family, who are Baptists, met with Pope Francis in a private audience on March 31. Their company, Hobby Lobby, is among the organizations seeking legal exemption from the US government’s health care mandate. The Greens thanked Pope Francis for emphasizing the importance of religious freedom.
The relationship between liturgy and social justice was the topic of Father Robert Barron’s address to students and faculty of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake (Mundelein Seminary) to open the spring semester. Father Barron, the rector of the seminary and president of the university, is well known for his “Word on Fire” ministry and the Catholicism series of videos that were featured on PBS.
Father Barron asked if an expensive chapel beautification project featuring signs and symbols of heavenly realities is “out of step with Pope Francis’s call to serve the poor?”
To answer this question, Father Barron cited his predecessor, Monsignor Reynold Hillenbrand, who served as Mundelein’s rector from 1936-1944, and was committed to beauty and participation in the liturgy as being intimately connected to service of the poor.
Monsignor Hillenbrand wanted priests to “see beyond their comfortable parishes … to see the suffering of the world”; he wanted priests who would not simply be, but also act, and in the liturgy God “has given us not only divine life, but new powers to act divinely,” Father Barron observed.
“What makes the divine life available are the Incarnation and the Cross, and this is precisely why the Mass is so central in the communication of the divine life,” Father Barron said.
“The Mystical Body at prayer (the liturgy) gives rise to and informs the Mystical Body bringing redemption to the world (social justice).” Therefore, in order to serve the poor, more is required than human action alone, he said. Again, quoting Hillenbrand: “… we must bring the effects of the altar to them.”
It would be a mistake, Father Barron concluded, to segregate those who “fuss about rubrics” and those who “take to the streets and work for the poor.” Instead, he recommended seeing them as working together, where a unified Mystical Body worships and allows the liturgy to lead to a passion for the poor.
Father Barron’s address to the students and faculty was reported in The Tidings, the newsletter of the Liturgical Institute, which is part of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake.
The United States bishops have designated as a national shrine the former John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, DC. It is now the Saint John Paul II National Shrine, as announced by Nashville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“This national shrine is truly America’s fitting tribute and remembrance of his legacy,” said Archbishop Kurtz, who signed a March 19 decree recognizing it as a national shrine
The original Cultural Center was acquired by the Knights of Columbus in 2011 to create a memorial to the Polish pope and to teach about his contributions to the Church and society. It was then designated a local shrine, the Blessed John Paul II Shrine; and it hosts an important relic of the saint: a vial of his blood given to the Knights of Columbus by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, Pope John Paul’s longtime personal secretary.
Carl Anderson, head of the Knights of Columbus, said that Pope John Paul II “shaped an entire generation of Catholics,” and that the shrine will serve as a reminder of his saintly life and “his call to holiness for each of us.”
“This shrine gives us the opportunity and privilege of continuing Pope John Paul II’s mission of the new evangelization for future generations of Catholics and we gladly accept it,” Anderson said.
The Saint John Paul II National Shrine will mark its namesake’s canonization on April 27 with liturgical celebrations, a reception, and a gathering for young people. The shrine’s main floor will be converted to a church, and its chapel will serve as a reliquary chapel. Both places of worship will have mosaics from floor to ceiling.
Source: Catholic News Agency
Adoremus, Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy