Catholics Read program offers free Bible resources and study program

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Article Scripture and Theology
Catholics Read provides Catholics with supplemental material and a reading guide to understanding the Bible in an effort to help Catholics grow in faith and understanding of the sacred scripture.

Founded in 2003 by the Catholic Book Publishers Association, the program designs a short curriculum focused on particular books, sections, or themes of the Bible. In 2007, Catholics Read hones in on the Gospel of John, the Psalms, and the theme "God is Love."

"Our main goal is: read the Bible and have something to do with it," says Terry Wessels, who serves as the executive director of CBPA.

The program
The program seeks to connect book publishers of bibles, as well as biblical guides, with laity interested in deepening their understanding of the Bible.

Each year, after CBPA announces which books the program will highlight, participating publishers can submit up to three recommended texts that could supplement the Scripture.

The CBPA manages an online bookstore of recommended texts by book publishers, as well as links to the current highlighted scriptures and downloadable discussion guides.

A few suggested titles

  • A collection of serious cartoons on the Gospel of John
  • A CD of Psalms performed by the Notre Dame Folk Choir
  • Defining Beauty, a book of lyrics and prose from an artist reflecting on God's love.

How to get involved

  • Individuals can outline a yearly reading guide
  • Parishes can start a weekly or monthly book club
  • Dioceses can present workshops on the program at diocesan conferences or gatherings

"The one group that I've seen that seem thrilled by this are at the parish level. 'Do you mean I don't have to design another program?' they'll say. Nope, it's free online," Wessels says.

CBPA does not track how many individuals participate in the program. In the future, beginning with the launch of a new website, Wessels says they will begin exploring ways to keep track of participants and keep finding new ways to get more people reading.