Verbum Domini Biblical and Catechetical Institute
Welcome to the Verbum Domini Biblical & Catechetical Institute! The Archdiocese of Hobart seeks to fulfil the role of forming the Catholic faithful through the establishment of this Institute. A key role of the Institute is to form, and then commission, active parishioners to be catechists for the Archdiocese, who can then work in their parishes in the sacramental preparation of children and the preparation of adults for entry into the Catholic Church.
The Institute takes its name from Pope Benedict XVI’s post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini (2010) which called for the establishment of specialised institutes for biblical studies where the laity and missionaries can come to understand, live, and proclaim the Word of God.
The Second Vatican Council recognised the existence of, and need for, catechists. The Council called for the establishment of diocesan schools where “catechists may study Catholic doctrine, especially in the fields of Scripture and the liturgy, as well as catechetical method and pastoral practice; schools wherein they can develop in themselves a Christian character, and wherein they can devote themselves tirelessly to cultivating piety and sanctity of life” (Ad Gentes, 17).
Pope St John Paul II, in his great document on the Mission of the Redeemer (Redemptoris Missio), speaks of the “army of catechists, both men and women” who have built the Church in mission areas and continue to intensify their catechetical activity in older and established churches (n. 73). The Pope reiterated the Council’s call for the establishment of catechist training schools.
St. Ambrose of Milan (c. 338-397) is the Patron of the Institute due to his profound understanding of Scripture and his ability to pass it on through the catechesis of the lay faithful. He is also well-known for his participation in the conversion and catechetical instruction of St. Augustine, who became one of the greatest theologians of the Church in the West. St. Ambrose is one of the first four Doctors of the Church together with St. Augustine, St. Jerome, and St. Gregory the Great. St. Ambrose, pray for us!
Ministry of the Word
The Second Vatican Council teaches that the Christian faithful are nourished on “the bread of life from the table both of God’s word and of Christ’s body” (Dei Verbum, 21). Along with communion with the Eucharistic Lord Jesus, the Christian faithful are to mediate continually upon Scripture, the written Word of God. Reflection upon and study of the Scriptures is at the heart of evangelisation, as Pope Francis writes,
Not only the homily has to be nourished by the word of God. All evangelisation is based on that word, listened to, meditated upon, lived, celebrated and witnessed to. The sacred Scriptures are the very source of evangelisation. Consequently, we need to be constantly trained in hearing the word. The Church does not evangelise unless she constantly lets herself be evangelised. It is indispensable that the word of God “be ever more fully at the heart of every ecclesial activity” (Benedict XVI, Verbum Domini, 1).
While the study of the sacred page is the “soul of theology,” Scripture also nourishes in a healthy way the “ministry of the word”—pastoral preaching, catechetics, and all Christian instruction, including the homily (Dei Verbum, 24). The General Directory for Catechesis remarks, “The ministry of the word is a fundamental element of evangelisation” (n. 50). This ministry takes on a number of forms including initial Gospel proclamation directed to unbelievers, catechesis of catechumens and baptised members of the faithful for sacramental preparation, continuous faith formation for the fully initiated, marriage preparation, homilies and instruction during administration of the sacraments, and theology (General Directory for Catechesis, 51).
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