In this post I share all about the Sunday of the Word of God including ideas for how to celebrate this event in your family, prayers, activities, my favourite children’s Bibles, and a free printable colouring page.
What is the Sunday of the Word of God?
Pope Francis instituted the “Sunday of the Word of God” as an annual celebration within the Catholic Church. This special day, which takes place on the third Sunday in Ordinary Time, is dedicated to the proclamation, reflection, and appreciation of the Word of God in the Scriptures.
When was the Sunday of the Word of God instituted?
The Sunday of the Word of God was instituted on September 30, 2019. The idea behind the Sunday of the Word of God is to emphasize the significance of Scripture in the life of the Church and individual believers. Pope Francis announced this celebration in 2019, in his Apostolic Letter “Aperuit illis,” expressing the desire for a day dedicated to the Bible to be celebrated worldwide. You can read it here.
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What is the purpose of the Sunday of the Word of God?
Pope Francis encourages Catholics to recognize the Bible not merely as a historical document but as a living and relevant Word that speaks to our lives today. He wants us to find special ways of highlight the importance of Sacred Scripture.
“On this Sunday, it would be particularly appropriate to highlight the proclamation of the word of the Lord and to emphasize in the homily the honour that it is due. Bishops could celebrate the Rite of Installation of Lectors or a similar commissioning of readers, in order to bring out the importance of the proclamation of God’s word in the liturgy. In this regard, renewed efforts should be made to provide members of the faithful with the training needed to be genuine proclaimers of the word, as is already the practice in the case of acolytes or extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. Pastors can also find ways of giving a Bible, or one of its books, to the entire assembly as a way of showing the importance of learning how to read, appreciate and pray daily with sacred Scripture, especially through the practice of lectio divina.” APERUIT ILLIS 3
The Pope emphasizes the personal encounter with the Word of God. It’s not just about reading the Bible but allowing it to speak to the hearts and minds of individuals, fostering a deeper relationship with God through lectio divina.
Pope Francis sees the Bible as a source of unity among Christians. The shared commitment to the Word of God can help overcome divisions and contribute to the unity of the Church.
10 Simple Ways to celebrate the Sunday of the Word of God With Your Children
Celebrating the Sunday of the Word of God with kids can be a wonderful way to instill a love for Scripture and a deeper understanding of its significance in their lives. Jesus wants the little children to come to Him! Here are some child-friendly ideas to make this day meaningful for our young ones:
1. Bible Story Time
Children love to be read to. Dedicate a part of this special day to reading the Bible with your child. This makes a wonderful nightly practice to keep up with. I have some of my favourite Catholic children’s Bibles linked here.
2. Make a Bible Shelf or a Family Altar
Do you have a family altar or a special shelf for all your Bibles? Giving your Bibles a special place helps to elevate them from other books. Sometimes my kids will leave their books on the floor. I want it to be clear that the Bible is a holy book and we should treat it with the utmost respect and reverence.
If you do decide to set up a family altar, I love the ideas in this post from Joyfully Domestic.
3. Family Scripture Sharing
Encourage each family member to share their favourite Bible verse and explain why it is meaningful to them. If they do not yet have a favourite Bible verse, they could say a Bible story they find special and why they like it.
4. Bible-themed Games or Crafts
Sunday of the Word of God is a great day to play games or do crafts based on Bible stories. For example, you can organize a scavenger hunt with clues related to different Bible narratives. Don’t fret, I have maybe the biggest list of Bible-based craft ideas on the whole of the internet here (and it includes Catholic-specific books!)
5. Role-Playing Bible Characters
Encourage kids to dress up as their favourite Bible characters and act out scenes from the stories. This is a form of narration, so Charlotte Mason would totally approve. And an interactive approach helps our active kids get interested and helps us all see the Bible stories in a new light.
6. Sunday of the Word of God Colouring Pages
Download my free printable Sunday of the Word of God colouring page. While colouring, discuss the importance of reading God’s Word.
7. Family Prayer Time
In your family prayer time, process with your Family Bible and read from it. Encourage kids to participate by reading a verse or leading a simple prayer related to the Word of God (I have some listed below).
8. Bible Memory Verse Challenge
Introduce a memory verse challenge for the family. Choose a short and meaningful verse, and see who can memorize it by the end of the day. Offer small rewards or praise for their efforts.
Here are some verses that may be especially appropriate for this challenge.
“He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45)
“This word is very near to you: it is in your mouth and in your heart for your observance” (Deuteronomy 30:14).
9. Write your names in a Family Bible
Traditionally names, birth dates, and other important dates were written down in the family Bible, which was often the only book the family owned. Consider writing your family member’s names in the inside cover of your family Bible.
Other important things that would have been recorded are:
10. Blessing of the Bibles
Our priest has everyone bring their Bibles to mass on this day. If your children have their own Bibles, consider bringing them to Mass to have them blessed. (More here on my favourite Bibles and how to get them blessed).
The Sunday of the Word of God is a celebration instituted by Pope Francis to highlight the significance of the Scriptures in the life of the Church. It takes place annually on the third Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Pope Francis initiated the Sunday of the Word of God to emphasize the living and relevant nature of the Bible in the lives of believers. It encourages a deeper engagement with Scripture individually and as a community.
The celebration takes place on the third Sunday in Ordinary Time, aligning with the liturgical calendar. This timing often falls in late January.
Families can celebrate by reading and discussing Bible stories, engaging in Bible-themed crafts and games, and incorporating Scripture into family prayers. It’s an opportunity for kids to connect with the Word of God in a fun and meaningful way.
The purpose is to recognize the transformative power of Scripture and encourage a more profound encounter with the Word of God. It serves as a reminder of the central role the Bible plays in the life and mission of the Church.
Individuals can participate by attending Mass, actively listening to the Scriptures during the liturgy, spending time in personal reflection on the Word of God, and considering how to incorporate Scripture into their daily lives.
While there are no specific readings designated for this day, the liturgy generally focuses on the importance of the Word of God. The usual Sunday readings offer an opportunity to reflect on the significance of Scripture.
Individuals can deepen their understanding by participating in Bible study groups, reading commentaries, or attending special presentations on the Scriptures. The goal is to foster a more profound connection with the Word of God.
The Sunday of the Word of God, like every Sunday, is a Holy Day of Obligation. However, individuals and families can additionally observe the Sunday of the Word of God outside of Mass by engaging in activities like reading the Bible together, discussing favourite verses, and reflecting on the teachings of Scripture.
By emphasizing the shared commitment to the Word of God, this celebration promotes unity among Christians. Regardless of denominational differences, a common reverence for Scripture can serve as a unifying force.
How Can Pastors and Catechists Teach About the Sunday of the Word of God?
Here are some ways you can educate about the Sunday of the Word of God:
- Explain the purpose of this day, emphasizing its role in promoting a deeper engagement with the Word of God.
- Discuss the significance of setting aside a specific day to focus on the Scriptures.
- Explore how the celebration is integrated into the liturgical calendar.
- Provide creative and age-appropriate ideas for families with kids to celebrate this day at home.
- Include suggestions for reading Bible stories, engaging in crafts, and incorporating Scripture into family prayer.
- Encourage individuals to take time for personal reflection on the Word of God.
- Share ideas on how to create a sacred space for reflection and prayer.
- Promote Bible Studies, in person and online.
- Encourage the congregation to bring their Bibles to be blessed.
- Recommend resources for individuals or groups looking to delve deeper into the Scriptures, such as Bible in a Year and Every Sacred Sunday.
- Share personal testimonials or stories to highlight how Scripture has impacted and transformed lives.
- Discuss how the Sunday of the Word of God promotes Christian unity. Emphasize the shared commitment to the Scriptures among different Christian denominations.
Prayers for the Sunday of the Word of God
Prayer for Sunday of the Word of God
Dear Heavenly Father, on this Sacred Sunday of the Word of God, we gather to thank you for the gift of your Word. We ask that you bless us with understanding, as we listen and learn from the teachings of Jesus. May your love guide us, your wisdom inspire us, and your grace be our constant companion. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we pray. Amen.
Prayer over children
Heavenly Father, as these Catholic children embark on their journey with you, grant them the courage to live out the values of faith, hope, and love. May the stories from the Scriptures shape their character, and may the Holy Spirit illuminate their minds with the light of understanding. Bless their families, teachers, and communities as they nurture the seeds of faith within these young souls. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Prayer Before Reading Scripture
Gracious Father, as I approach Your Word today, open my heart and mind to receive the wisdom and truth it holds. May Your Spirit guide my understanding, and may I apply the lessons learned to my daily life. Grant me the humility to seek Your guidance and the strength to live according to Your will. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Prayer After Reading Scripture
Heavenly Father, as I close the pages of Your sacred Word, I thank you for the wisdom and guidance it imparts. May the lessons learned resonate in my heart and shape my actions. Grant me the grace to live out the teachings of Your Word, and may it always be a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Thank you for the gift of Your truth. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
How to Get Your Bible Blessed for the Sunday of the Word of God
To get your Bible blessed, reach out to a local Catholic parish. Schedule a meeting with a priest and inform them about your intention to have your Bible blessed.
Alternately, you can bring your Bible to a regular church service or schedule a specific time with the priest. After Mass, approach the priest and ask for the blessing.
The Difference Between Catholic and Protestant Bibles
How Do I know If I own a Catholic Bible?
The Catholic Bible includes the Deuterocanonical Books such as Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Baruch, and parts of Esther and Daniel. These books were part of the Septuagint, an ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, and have long been considered by the Church as part of the biblical canon. If your Bible is missing these beautiful books, you’re missing out! Grab yourself an authentic Catholic Bible that hasn’t been shortened by Martin Luther.
My Favourite Bibles
Here are some of the best and most lovely Bibles for Catholic Kids:
For more ideas of how to teach your kids about the Bible, check out my article How to Teach the Bible to Catholic Kids.
Free Printable Colouring Page for the Sunday of the Word of God
How to Access the Free Printable
- Drop your email in the box below.
- Check your inbox and click through to the PDF.
- Save it to your computer or phone.
- Print it off at home or at your local printer.
- For personal use only, thanks! Email me if you’d like added permissions.
- Watermark free version may be available on my Etsy shop.
In embracing the Sunday of the Word of God, Pope Francis aims to highlight the transformative power of Scripture and encourage Catholics to engage more deeply with the Word of God in their daily lives. This celebration serves as a reminder of the central role that the Bible plays in the life and mission of the Church.
Let’s See You Live It!
I would love to see how your family does this. It is so inspiring to others, too. Send me an email or tag me on social media @kindlingwild and I’ll be sure to share!
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