Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 1, 2007
Reading Scripture illuminates the glory of the Holy Eucharist
Dr. Steve Smith asks Scripturefest delegates to develop a deeper love for the Eucharist
By RENATO GANDIA
"It's music to my ears to hear Bible pages turning, especially for us Catholics."
- Dr. Steve Smith
People celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday or every day, but often Catholics take for granted its meaning and beauty because they have fallen into a pattern. Smith's goal is to help people consciously remember the many ways the Eucharist shows up throughout salvation history and throughout Scripture.
"That's my hope that (the Scripturefest) brings a renewed thanksgiving and a renewed joy for the ways in which the Eucharist is present all the way through the New Testament, and sometimes in hidden ways in the Old Testament," he said.
Smith teaches at the Immaculate Conception Seminary in New Jersey and St. Joseph's Seminary in New York.
While growing up in a large Catholic family, he became a skeptic as a teenager and eventually left the Catholic Church. He had a conversion experience in college and dedicated his life to Christ as an evangelical Christian and eventually as a pastor in a church in the United States.
In 2000, he returned to the Catholic Church due largely to a deep and serious study of the Bible which led him to complete a doctorate degree at Loyola University in Chicago.
"For those who may be away from the Church or are skeptical, it's a wonderful thing to read through the Scripture to begin to make these beautiful connections and the Lord will help (them). We don't have to have all the answers, but if we really pray, the Lord will help us along in our journey."
For many people, he says, reading the Bible is a new habit.
"And so Scripturefest is a great event because it reminds people, especially when (they) have someone prompting them to do so, it's a good thing to read the Bible."
Don Powell, a parishioner at St. Joseph Basilica agreed with Smith that the occasion is a good venue to explore and to widen one's knowledge of the Bible and to strengthen one's faith.
"I think it's wonderful . . . and refreshing," said Powell, who has written a book called The Human Equation: Science and Spirituality. "What we need to do is re-appraise the inspiration that comes from within and this is what I get from Scripturefest."
Cheryl Bergstrom, who was visiting Edmonton from Winnipeg, attended the weekend event with her friend. She said she was skeptical at first, but she concluded the event was worthwhile because it gave her the perspective that the Eucharist is deeply rooted in the Bible.
"It was definitely worth my time," Bergstrom said.
The more people get in touch with the Scripture the more they get in touch with Jesus, said Smith, adding, ministries, such as the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, are a good venue to help people understand the Eucharist better.
People journeying through the RCIA "are encountering the faith in a more serious way as adults," he said. But youth groups and preparation for the First Communion are also excellent settings for teaching the scriptural basis of the sacrament.
The Mass, he says, is the most common and accessible way to help people understand the scriptural roots of the Catholic faith.
Prior to coming to Edmonton on Sept. 21-22, Smith gave the same talks to 155 people at Sacred Heart Parish in Red Deer on Sept. 14-15.
To culminate the Scripturefest, Archbishop Richard Smith presided in a concelebrated Mass on Sept. 22 and spoke on the Eucharist, God's gift for the life of the world.
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