National Bible Week builds on Jubilee Year of Mercy

November 8, 2016

From Nov.13 to 19 the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops invites families, parishes, schools and other Catholic groups to participate in National Bible Week in celebration of the 51st Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum. 

HOUSTON — The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is encouraging families, parishes and schools throughout the United States to participate in National Bible Week, beginning on Sunday, Nov. 13, and continuing through the following week.

The week also commemorates the 51st anniversary — November 17 — of Dei Verbum, the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation which discusses how God reveals Himself through Scripture and tradition.

This year’s theme, “The Bible: A Book of Mercy,” builds on this year’s Jubilee Year of Mercy, declared by Pope Francis.

Scripture always has played an important role in the prayer life of the Catholic Church. Readings from Scripture are part of every Mass. At least two readings, one always from the Gospels, (three on Sundays and solemnities) make up the Liturgy of the Word. In addition, a psalm or canticle is sung.

These readings are typically read from a Lectionary, not a Bible, though the Lectionary is taken from the Bible.

A Lectionary is composed of the readings and the responsorial psalm assigned for each Mass of the year (Sundays, weekdays and special occasions). The readings are divided by the day or the theme (Baptism, marriage, vocations, etc.) rather than according to the books of the Bible.

If one were to attend Mass every day during the three-year cycle, they would hear more than 70 percent of the New Testament proclaimed.
Of course, the faithful are encouraged to read and study Scripture on their own. The USCCB offers specific ways to find ways to do this during National Bible Week. 

Individuals are encouraged to find time to read and pray with Scripture daily. Even 10 minutes of prayer and reflection can yield great benefits. Another option is praying a Scriptural Rosary, incorporating the words of Scripture into the traditional reflections and Rosary prayers.

Families are encouraged to enthrone the Bible, the Word of God, in a visible place in their homes. By placing the Sacred Scriptures in a prominent place decorated with flowers and art, and by gathering at this spot for daily prayer, families show that God is present and active through his Word. A ritual for families to use in their homes is available on the USCCB website.

In addition, the American Bible Society offers a bilingual daily scriptural journey on mercy — with reflections by Bishop Robert Barron, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Bishop Barron will highlight biblical insights that show how God is Mercy, as well as demonstrating mercy given, mercy received and mercy lived out. It is available in English at:, and in Spanish at:

The USCCB has made resources available to assist parishes, schools, ministry groups and individuals to celebrate this week. 
The resources are available in both English and Spanish at: