Pope Francis, in his Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel (2013), says that the study of sacred scripture must be “a door open to every believer”. He calls for dioceses, parishes and Catholic Associations to provide for “a serious, ongoing study of the Bible” (#175).
This has not been part of our Catholic culture but the Diocese of Parramatta and individuals have been working hard at promoting this habit. No longer can Catholics see bible study and reflection as something foreign to our religious culture.
An ecumenical bible study on the Book of Genesis was recently held at St Finbar’s Catholic Parish, Glenbrook, that was open to members of all the local churches. Participants provided positive feedback, saying they were especially happy to do the study with members of other Christian churches.
Glenbrook, in the Blue Mountains, has a history of ecumenical activities going back at least to the 1980s with the leadership of a local doctor, Laurie Brooks. Ecumenical activities have been occurring in Glenbrook over the decades involving, at various times, the Anglican, Baptist, Uniting and Catholic churches and even the Society of Friends.
An Interchurch Group was formed and organised an annual programme with events like celebrating an ecumenical Easter Sunrise service at Elizabeth Lookout, the World Day of Prayer, and annual Ecumenical Dinners with invited speakers.
This relationship came to fruition when in 2014, a covenant was signed between St Andrew’s Uniting Church, Glenbrook, St Finbar’s Catholic Parish, Glenbrook and Blaxland Uniting Church. The covenant was a pledge to work and prayer together whenever possible.
Another ecumenical bible study is planned later in 2022 on the Book of Revelation.
For more information on the upcoming ecumenical bible study sessions, please contact Gideon care of the St Finbar’s parish office on (02) 4742 6958 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gideon Goosen is a parishioner of St Finbar’s Parish, Glenbrook.