VATICAN CITY (CNS) — While it may be a best-seller, the Bible still is not regularly read, nor has it become an integral part of many Catholics’ lives, said a panel of biblical experts.
"Unfortunately, it must be said, there is still little Bible in the lives of the faithful," said Italian Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Catholic Bible Federation.
Recent research conducted in Italy, Spain and France found that many Catholics consider the sacred Scriptures as something "reserved for the clergy" rather than as an accessible resource for them to draw upon for truth and inspiration in their own lives, he said.
Bishop Paglia, together with a number of biblical experts, spoke at a Vatican press conference Sept. 8 to present an upcoming international congress commemorating the 40th anniversary of "Dei Verbum," the Second Vatican Council document on Scripture and divine revelation. [Source]
Well the Archdiocese of Denver seems to be doing to right.
To outside Catholic educators, the Denver Biblical School is somewhat of an enigma.
They are surprised that it charges money for the courses. In fact, first-year tuition went from $300 last year to $500, excluding the cost of textbooks.
Yet the school is so successful in attracting students that it is straining to meet demand.
“The Biblical School is completely self-funded,” said school director Tim Gray, explaining that the Archdiocese of Denver does not subsidize its operations. Student donations and tuition fund the school, which has four full-time instructors.
Now in its 24th year of existence, the Biblical School is considered one of the most successful of its kind in the country. It offers a four-year Scripture program and even attracts students who are not Catholics.
Demand for the school’s instruction is so strong that enrollment for first-year students was closed earlier than usual.
In the current school year, the first-year class is a record 311students and total enrollment stands at an all-time high of 638.
We have a high-quality program,” Gray said in explaining the school’s success. “The teachers are dynamic and unique.
The program not only makes the Bible come alive, but makes it relevant to the lives of people,” he continued.
In contrast to some Bible study classes that take a piecemeal approach to the Bible, the Denver Catholic Biblical School undertakes comprehensive study of all books of the Bible. Homework is also assigned each week.
The school’s curriculum has been revamped to get away from an approach in which books of the Bible are grouped in terms of themes or literary narratives.
“We’ve emphasized the overarching narrative of the whole Bible,” said school instructor Wei-Hsien Wan.
Students meet once a week for two hours, with the first hour devoted to lecture and the second hour to small group discussion. Gray describes the instruction as “meaty, deep and serious.” [Source]