The God Who Speaks

2020 is the 10th anniversary of Verbum Domini – Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Exhortation on ‘The Word of the Lord’ and the 1,600 anniversary of St Jerome’s death. These dates have inspired the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales to dedicate 2020 as a year of focus on the Bible and ‘The God Who Speaks’.



Scripture is at the centre of everything the Church does. The word of God shapes our prayer and worship. The Bible shows us how to understand the world, how we are called to live and relate to each other.

During the year, we will be celebrating, living and sharing God‘s word with an exciting new Scripture initiative. It’s an opportunity to enrich current practice and to develop and explore new ways of responding to ‘The God who Speaks’.

Throughout 2020 there will be a range of events, activities and resources to participate in all around the country. To help achieve transformation in our hearts and in our communities there will be three themes of celebrating, living and sharing God’s word. Take a look around this section to see how you can get involved.


Please email Sarah Adams from our Adult Education team if you have any questions relating to our Scripture initiative ‘The God Who Speaks’.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols launches ‘The God who Speaks’:

To launch the project Cardinal Vincent Nichols offers his reflections on Italian Renaissance artist Masaccio’s painting ‘Saints Jerome and John the Baptist’ hanging in the National Gallery in London.

Resources for the God Who Speaks

The Bishop's Conference of England and Wales

have produced many Resources for us to use. Throughout the year they will have a different monthly focus to help explore our three themes; celebrating, living and sharing God’s word.

Lots of information on their website here

For our March Focus – We look at Lent and Easter symbolsThe God Who Speaks

First witness to the Resurrection: Mary Magdalene – The God Who Speaks
Easter Donkey Activity Story – The God Who Speaks
Easter resources – The God Who Speaks

Women’s World Day of Prayer on 1st March and Women’s International Day on 8th March.
We promote a unique collaboration of Women in the Bible through paintings, poetry and music – The God Who Speaks

March Sunday ReflectionsThe God Who Speaks

Scripture Brochure – take a look at all our Bible products.
Psalms for March from the national CBCEW Spirituality Committee as attached.

A monthly series of Reflections by Fr Henry Wansbrough OSB

Fr Henry Wansbrough OSB is a Monk at Ampleforth, home to the Benedictine monks in Yorkshire.

Fr Henry kindly agreed to allow us to film him talking about different aspects of the Bible, and from that he has given us six short, but rich reflections. Through them, he responds to some of the questions that many people have about the Bible.

Questions such as why do we have two accounts of creation in Genesis? What was King David really like? Why and how do we use the Psalms?

Picking up a particular themes of interest, Fr Henri offers an interesting insight into some of the Scriptures which we all know and love.

Reflection 1: Fr Henry talks about Creation.

Booklet for this Reflection:

The Creation Narrative Meditation One

Reflection 2: Fr Henry discusses King David – Hero or Scoundrel?

Booklet for this Reflection:

Mediations on Scripture 2 David

Reflection 3: Fr Henry discusses the Psalms.

Booklet for this Reflection:

Mediations on Scripture 3 The Psalms

Reflection : Fr Henry talks about the Infancy Stories.

Booklet for this Reflection:

The Infancy Stories Mediation Four

Reflection 5: Fr Henry talks about the Passion

Booklet for this Reflection:

The Passion – Meditations on Scripture 5




A monthly series of Reflections exploring a favourite passage of scripture from Matthew’s Gospel

Each month, somebody new will give us their personal reflection.

To start us off, we have Bishop Crispian Hollis who shares with us some of his thoughts on The Joy of the Gospel

Our second Reflection is from Sr Elizabeth Mary from the Monastery of Our Lady and St Bernard, Brownshill, Stroud

Our third Reflection is from Fr Anthony Paris, Parish Priest at St Osmund’s, Salisbury

Our fourth Reflection is from Fr Matt Anscombe, Parish Priest at St Bernadette’s Whitchurch, Bristol and St Dunstan’s, Keynsham

Our Sixth Reflection is from Michael Antram who is the Head Teacher at St Edwards School

LETTERS FROM LOCKDOWN: Seminarians Joseph Meigh and Stuart Ford

Philippians is very short – only 4 pages long – but is known as one of St Paul’s most joy-filled letters. Perhaps especially it might help us find joy in our current situation of lockdown, because Paul was writing it from his prison cell – so it shows us how that deepest kind of joy wells up from our relationship with Christ which is within us, whatever our external circumstances.

A Guide to Philippians. Episode 1 – To Live is Christ (Phil 1:1-21). Joseph Meigh and fellow Clifton Seminarian, Stuart Ford

Episode 2 – Let Every Tongue Confess (Phil 1:22-2:11)​, with Joseph Meigh and fellow Clifton Seminarian, Stuart Ford.

Episode 3 – As Lights in the World (Phil 2:12-25), with Joseph Meigh and fellow Clifton Seminarian, Stuart Ford.

Episode 4 – I Count It All as Loss (Phil 3:1-11)​, with Joseph Meigh and fellow Clifton Seminarian, Stuart Ford.

Episode 5 – What Lies Ahead (Phil 3:12-4.1), with Joseph Meigh and fellow Clifton Seminarian, Stuart Ford.

The Infancy Narratives of St. Matthew’s Gospel: Fr. Nicholas King SJ


Since the beginning of Advent we have been hearing St. Matthew’s version of the Christmas story. It gives us a different perspective from St. Luke’s narrative.  Listening to those scriptures may have raised questions for us. Why do we need to know the genealogy of Jesus? Who are these women mentioned within it? Why are dreams so important in the scriptures? What do these narratives have to say to us today?

Fr. Nicholas King a Jesuit priest from Oxford and well-known scripture scholar offers us three talks which can help us to explore these very first chapters of Matthew’s Gospel. 

Each talk is accompanied by a prayer resource and some possible questions to discuss within a group.



Three Lenten Narratives from the Gospel of John

As we enter the heart of Lent, Fr Denis McBride offers us four talks based on the three key gospel stories of John, which lie at the core of the Lenten story in Year A. They are especially pertinent  for those people who are preparing to be baptised at Easter.

Fr. Denis begins with an introduction and then speaks at greater length on ‘The Woman at the Well’, ‘The Man Born Blind’ and ‘The Raising of Lazarus’.

As ever, Fr. Denis, a Redemptorist Priest and Writer offers a deep insight into the gospels which is refreshing and relevant to us all. In this year of ‘The God who Speaks’, it is good to engage more deeply with the message he offers us from these three great stories of discipleship, illumination and new life.

Drawing on his extensive scriptural knowledge, and profound love of art, Fr Denis McBride C.Ss.R. offers us a reflection for Palm Sunday.


In this first video Fr Denis introduces three Lenten narratives from John’s Gospel and compares them to the other Gospels. He’ll introduce the Woman at the Well, the Man Born Blind and the Raising of Lazarus.

John 4:5-42, The Woman of Samaria at the Well

Welcome to our exploration of the great narrative in John’s Gospel where Jesus meets the woman of Samaria at a well; she immediately tries to end the conversation and disconnect from the encounter. Why?

John 9:1-41, The Man Born Blind

In the previous session we looked at one of the great witnesses the evangelist, John, called to the witness box, the woman of Samaria, who testified to her village and to us. In this session John calls the man born blind to the witness box, he will testify before us about the identity and power of Jesus.

John 11:1-45 | The Raising of Lazarus

We now reflect on the raising of Lazarus, which appears only in the fourth Gospel.
When someone we love dies, we become acutely aware of a large absence in our life, an absence that seems to fill the world. One person is dead; the world is depopulated. So much that appeared important before now pales into insignificance beside this hard loss. Jesus felt this loss too but addresses it in the most remarkable way.

Augustine of Hippo said, “If the psalm prays, you pray. If the psalm laments, you lament. If the psalm exalts, you rejoice. If it hopes, you hope. If it fears, you fear. Everything written here is a mirror for us.”

 In this beautiful series of the psalms, Fr. Tristan Cranfield of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton reads each one in turn. As we pray these psalms with him we have the opportunity to pray in every season, to learn what it is to rejoice, to lament, to mourn, to plead and to give praise.

We are grateful to Fr.Tristan of Our Lady of Ransom Catholic Parish in Eastbourne for his permission to share this with you.

“I am a Catholic priest of the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton. ‘With the Harp I Will Solve My Problem’ is a daily series that I am running during the coronavirus lockdown here in Eastbourne, England. While our churches are closed, I hope these reflections may help parishioners to pray at home with the psalms: the songbook of the Church – God’s own Word in which God praises Himself. Here, in the Word, each day, we will praise, lament, give thanks, and ask for mercy.

Psalm 1. ‘With the Harp I Will Solve My Problem’

Psalm 2. ‘With the Harp I Will Solve My Problem’

Psalm 3. ‘With the Harp I Will Solve My Problem’

Psalm 4. ‘With the Harp I Will Solve My Problem’

Psalm 5. ‘With the Harp I Will Solve My Problem’

Psalm 6. ‘With the Harp I Will Solve My Problem’

Psalm 7. ‘With the Harp I Will Solve My Problem’

Psalm 8. ‘With the Harp I Will Solve My Problem’

Psalm 9. ‘With the Harp I Will Solve My Problem’

Film: The Incredulity of Saint Thomas

Cardinal Vincent Nichols offers his reflections on this painting by the Italian artist Giovanni Battista Cima da Conegliano titled ‘The Incredulity of Saint Thomas’.

During Lent we walk a path of reflection and preparation for 40 days before celebrating the Risen Christ at Easter.

The miracle of the Resurrection was too much for St Thomas who needed to put his finger into the pierced side of Jesus before he would truly believe.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols offers his reflections on this very theme in front of a huge painting by Italian artist Giovanni Battista Cima da Conegliano called ‘The Incredulity of Saint Thomas’. It was commissioned in 1497 for the altar in the Church of San Francesco in northern Venice.

It is installed in the National Gallery in London – a place where the Cardinal filmed three reflections for our scripture initiative ‘The God Who Speaks’ – a year-long celebration of the Bible to deepen our understanding of God’s Word.

The painting itself is framed in a further arch, revealing an indented or coffered ceiling in a room where two more arches are stencilled into the back wall, to reveal a distant Italian landscape with trees and a castle.

This pictorial scene itself speaks of a further journey that the spiritual traveller is required to make on their journey of faith. As we stand in front of Cima’s huge masterpiece, we are therefore, carried through at least seven arches, guiding, directing and revealing the extraordinary depth of the painting.

This emphasis on scale and depth are part of the point of our faith in Christ whose death transcended every dimension of this world. So that while this encounter between Jesus, his disciples and specifically Thomas, occurs after the resurrection, right at the end of our Easter journey, to travel spiritually and physically to this very moment requires all the drama and power that the greatest journey from doubt to faith can ever express.

Since it is the drama and journey of seeing Christ after his death, and of believing in his resurrection. As Christians, we all enter into this unique mystery.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols offers his reflections on this painting by the Italian artist Giovanni Battista Cima da Conegliano titled ‘The Incredulity of Saint Thomas’

Readers’ Notes

Useful Readers’ Notes can be downloaded here to accompany the Cardinal’s film and encourage further engagement.

Visit the official website for the National Gallery, London.

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Advent is a time when we look back – and forward – and think about how both affect the present. This Advent, we will focus on the First Readings of the Sundays. These are taken from the writings of the Prophet Isaiah who had to listen to hear the Voice of God amidst the trials of exile and loss and despair. Although we do not face the difficulties of his time, we do have situations in our own lives and in the life of the world that cause us to wonder where God is. The Voice of God speaking through the words of Isaiah can bring us hope and joy as we live this Season and look forward to the celebration of the Word of God becoming flesh amongst us.

The God Who Speaks – through the Prophets

Hexham and Newcastle Diocese have prepared a series of Resources to guide us through Advent by exploring the Prophets