Pope Francis, in his Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel (2013), says that the study of the sacred scriptures should be “an open door for all believers”. He calls on dioceses, parishes and Catholic associations to ensure “a serious and continuous study of the Bible” (no. 175).
This is not part of our Catholic culture, but the Diocese of Parramatta and individuals have worked hard to promote this habit. Catholics can no longer regard biblical study and reflection as something alien to our religious culture.
An ecumenical Bible study on the Book of Genesis was recently held at St Finbar’s Catholic Parish, Glenbrook, open to members of all 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 activity dating back to at least the 1980s under the leadership of a local doctor, Laurie Brooks. Ecumenical activities have taken place in Glenbrook over the decades involving, at various times, the Anglican, Baptist, Uniting and Catholic churches and even the Society of Friends.
An inter-church group was formed and organized an annual program with events such as the celebration of an ecumenical Easter sunrise service at Elizabeth Lookout, the World Day of Prayer and annual ecumenical dinners with guest 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 commitment to work and pray together whenever possible.
Another ecumenical Bible study is planned for later in 2022 on the Book of Revelation.
For more information on upcoming Ecumenical Bible Study sessions, please contact Gideon care of St Finbar’s Parish Office on (02) 4742 6958 or email [email protected]
Gideon Goosen is a parishioner of St Finbar Parish, Glenbrook.