OCALA – Ledmarie Rodriguez wants to gain a better understanding of the Bible and learn more about God’s revelation and plan of salvation. That’s why she attended the workshop “Why Catholics Read the Bible” on Feb. 2 at Blessed Trinity Parish, Ocala.
Close to 150 people attended the workshop presented in both English and Spanish by Renew International and the Diocese of Orlando. Rodriguez belongs to a Why Catholic? small Christian community that meets for faith sharing and learning about “The Profession of Faith, What We Believe.”
“With Why Catholic? we are getting ready to read the Bible more and learn more about the Scriptures,” said Rodriguez, who is part of the committee that organizes Why Catholic? for the parish’s Hispanic Ministry.
“People here are getting more involved with the Bible and asking more questions. That is important as we grow in our community,” she added.
The workshop provided a history of Sacred Scripture, key figures found in the Bible, the authors of the Gospels and the importance of the kerygma – a Greek term used by St. Paul – to describe the earliest proclamation of Jesus Christ.
“The Bible is the source of our salvation,” said Dominican Sisters of Peace Sister Pat Thomas, who presented the workshop in English.
Sister Pat said it isn’t necessary for Catholics to memorize or quote word-for-word certain passages in the Bible. However, it’s important to apply Biblical principles to our lives today.
“I very much want you to know in your heart of hearts that the Bible has some meaning for your life,” Sister Pat said.
Denis Moeder is a member of a men’s bible study group at Blessed Trinity Parish. He said his interest in the Bible and involvement in the Why Catholic? program led him to attend the workshop.
“It is the inspired Word of God, and the more that we know about what God had to say, the better we can live our lives,” Moeder said. “If we don’t know what God has taught us or said to us, how will we live our lives the way he wants us to?”
Many of those who attended the workshop were already part of Why Catholic? small communities, but the workshops were open to all parishioners within the Diocese of Orlando, or anyone who wanted to participate.
Vicki Alvey is planning to become Catholic later this year. She currently belongs to St. Theresa Parish in Belleview, and attended the Blessed Trinity workshop to learn more about how Catholics perceive the Bible.
“I wanted to see how Catholics look at the Bible versus the Protestants,” Alvey said. “I learned about the Sacred Scriptures, which I hadn’t understood before. There was also a fallacy that Catholics didn’t read the Bible; they weren’t Bible readers. But they are. Catholics do read the Bible; that’s how they base their religion.”
A list of suggestions for reading the Bible and resources to enrich bible reading were also provided in a handout. “Why Catholics Read the Bible” was held at 14 parishes in the Diocese of Orlando between Feb. 2 – Feb. 9.
Why Catholic? faith sharing sessions resume Ash Wednesday, on Feb. 22 at parishes throughout the Diocese of Orlando.