The papal nuncio to the United States and the cardinals of Toronto and Madrid showcased the eighth annual New York Catholic Bible Summit at Cathedral High School in Manhattan.
The June 17 event, which drew approximately 500 people, carried the theme “Missionary Disciples: Bringing God’s Word to the Entire World.”
Archbishop Christophe Louis Pierre, papal nuncio to the United States, served as principal celebrant and homilist of the bilingual opening Mass. “We are all called” to be missionaries—“in our families, in our workplace and with ourselves, don’t forget about that,” he said.
“When we open the Bible, we have to find ourselves, because this is an instrument of salvation,” Archbishop Pierre said, adding, “in finding ourselves, we find God.”
Keynote addresses were delivered in English by Cardinal Thomas Collins, archbishop of Toronto, and in Spanish by Cardinal Carlos Osoro Sierra, archbishop of Madrid, Spain. Both are renowned Scripture scholars.
“I have a red Bible because I believe that the Bible should be read,” quipped Cardinal Collins, clutching one of that color.
“The Word of God is primarily a person, not a book,” Cardinal Collins explained. “This is indeed the Word of God, it’s the written word of God, but the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. It is the Lord. It’s our encounter with the Blessed Lord. He is the Word of God among us.”
Referring to the conference theme, Cardinal Collins began his address with the Great Mandate at the end of the Gospel of Matthew: “‘go therefore and make disciples of all nations.’
“This is our mission as disciples,” Cardinal Collins said, “not to simply be there to receive the Word of God but to let the Word of God spread throughout this world.”
The Angelus, the midday prayer to the Blessed Mother, was also offered.
The Bible summit is sponsored by the archdiocesan Catechetical Office and the American Bible Society. “By your presence here today, you are showing your own commitment to be missionary disciples, agents of evangelization,” said Sister Joan Curtin, C.N.D., director of the Catechetical Office.
Numerous Scripture scholars offered workshop tracks in English and Spanish. In “Prophets to the Nations: God’s Word to Those in Exile,” presenter Andrew R. Davis of Boston College, drew parallels to the plight of present-day refugees.
Sneak peeks of the new Museum of the Bible slated to open in November in Washington, D.C., were provided through an interactive exhibit that included 3D glasses and artifacts as well as a virtual presentation shown by Cary Summers, museum president.
Roy Peterson, president of the American Bible Society, shared his spiritual conversion story that included reading the Bible while serving time in a prison in Mexico as a 19-year-old. “…On my knees, I cried out to the Savior, that He would take my broken life and give me that new beginning that the Scriptures promise us in Him. He was speaking hope and I was so hopeless at that time. He was speaking life and I thought I would never come out of there alive…”
Sory Rodriguez, 38, of Our Lady of Angels parish, the Bronx, came to the Bible summit for the first time as she prepares to be a first-time catechist at Our Lady of Angels.
“It was great,” she told CNY afterward. “It inspired me to continue learning about our Church, our beliefs, and inviting others to the Church.”
“God is always with us,” Ms. Rodriguez continued. “No matter what happens in our lives, we need to believe in Him and just trust Him. He’s our main goal.”