Bishop’s change Word of God Sunday date

Pope Francis raises the Book of the Gospels in St. Peter’s Basilica. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) 

Word of God Sunday will be celebrated this Sunday to avoid clashing with Australia day.

In September 2019, Pope Francis instituted the celebration of Word of God Sunday when issuing the apostolic letter Aperuit Illis. The letter encouraged the celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God.

Many countries celebrate the occasion on the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time; however, in light of the regular coincidence of the Australia Day holiday, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has decided to assign the first Sunday in February as Sunday of the Word of God in Australia.

The date was chosen to retain proximity to the international celebration but avoid the clash with the Australia Day observance.

Archbishop Christopher Prowse encouraged all parishes to participate in the celebration, explaining that since the Second Vatican Council, the proclamation of the Word is one of the primary ways the faithful encounter Christ’s sacramental presence during the liturgy.

“Pope Francis has encouraged us to devote a Sunday, every year to concentrate on the great gift of God’s Word. Since the Second Vatican Council, we have grown in the Catholic Church to see the Word of God as central to our lives,” Archbishop Christopher said.

The National Centre for Evangelisation and the National Office for Liturgy have prepared several resources to help individuals, families, parishes, schools, and other ministries commemorate the Sunday of the Word of God.

Other recommendations include;

  • Gospel of Mark (Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture), Mary Healy
  • Prayer: Living With God, 1975, Simon Tugwell OP
  • Living Word reflections: Free daily email subscription
  • Universalis app
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