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... From the Goodnews archives, September/October 2009


Bible Resources



Kristina Cooper recommends


Over the years I have heard some very good talks on the scriptures and read some excellent books too that have helped me grow in faith and understand more deeply the message of the bible. The best talk I ever heard I think was in Manila, perhaps fifteen years ago at a Charismatic Conference, when I listened to a talk by Fr Jun Lingard, a scripture professor at the local seminary, who ran bible classes for everyone from seminarians, to society ladies and 400 young people from his parish who were among the very poor. It was the first time I had heard such a coming together of biblical exposition and pastoral application in the one talk.

I’ve been looking for ages, for something similar, a course that 26 GoodNews 203 - September/October 2009 would be both pastoral and informative and which would give me a proper biblical foundation, without being over academic. In Jeff Cavin’s Bible Timeline produced by Ascension Press in the United States, I have found exactly what I’ve been looking for. This course consists of 24 one hour sessions (either in DVD or CD format) in which the presenter takes you through the entire Bible, showing how the Old Testament prepares for the new, and the richness and different levels there are in the stories and sayings. Although it is 24 hours of material, you soon realise that in this short time, the presenter can only skim the surface. He does it in such a way, however, that it whets your appetite for more as he opens your eyes to the depth there is in the Word of God. Jeff Calvins, who although born into a Catholic home, left the Church and spent many years as Protestant pastor. However in the 1990s he became part of a movement that included people like Scott Hahn, who became Roman Catholic, bringing with them their biblical exposition skills, a love of the Roman Catholic Church and a desire to help ordinary Catholics to understand the bible better.

Although his jokes sometimes fall a bit flat, Jeff Cavins is a great communicator, who is full of joy and enthusiasm for God and manages to make the bible both accessible and interesting.. A small group of us from our parish have been following the series on Monday evenings for almost half a year now and all five of us are finding it excellent. He manages to hold our attention for almost an hour on DVD every week which is no mean feat after a hard day’s work.

As well as the talks, there is a study kit, which is a binder of reference material, small group questions, etc This discussion group side, to be honest we haven’t done as well as we could have done. Some of us too have been better at doing the reading than others, but even for those who don’t have the time to read the passages recommended, the lectures stand alone. We have already bought the next course, which is the gospel of Matthew and later we hope to go on to the Book of Acts.

The only down side is the price, which seems huge from an English Catholic perspective £279.25 for the Bible Timeline (12 DVDs – 24 one hour lectures). Participants guide £21.25. The Gospel of Matthew which is also available is similar and The Book of Acts, which only has 10 DVDs is £225.25. Postage and packing is on top of this. But I would personally say it is worth it, as particularly in a parish situation it can be used more than once. A group of friends could also buy it together, or if someone is very keen, and has the money, to pay for it for friends.

The CDs are much cheaper – about £90 but I would imagine not so easy for a group to listen to. If you go on the Ascension web site you can get a flavour of the style of the talks before you buy www.ascensionpress.org

I’m sure you won’t be disappointed and you can now buy them from Good News Books,15 Barking Close, Luton LU4 8HG toni @ goodnewsbooks. net tel 01582 571011


Fr Chris Thomas recommends


Ever since I was baptised in the spirit I have always loved the Scriptures. They have fascinated me, confused me, encouraged me, challenged me and they always leave me wanting more. I can never get enough of them. I pray about them, read about them and study them. Somehow they always seem fresh and new. One of the resources that I use regularly is the series of Cd’s that Richard Rohr OFM has produced called ‘New Great Themes of Scripture.’

Instead of treating the Bible as a collection of isolated books, he sees it as a whole unit that has woven through it nine themes: shame, and separation, vengeance and victims, law, grace, power, mystery, fear and intimacy, the paradox of the cross and “mutual indwelling.”

These themes lead us into the mystery of God where transformation takes place. The Cd’s are a new way of looking at the Scriptures and a powerful way of inviting us to journey more deeply into them. I would encourage anyone to listen to them.

They are available very easily from the Centre for action and Contemplation in Albuquerque. Just type into your browser www.cacradicalgrace.org


Eileen O’Kane recommends


An excellent and accessible resource for opening up the Scriptures are the teachings given by Francis Hogan, a Catholic educator and lay missionary who lives in Ireland and who has committed her life to proclaiming the Word of God to the ends of the earth. This she has done for many years by travelling the world as the Lord directs, giving Scripture Retreats in parishes as well as writing many books on the Scriptures - many of which, sadly, are now out of print. I first came into contact with Frances way back in the late 70’s. From the first moment I heard her sharing the treasure contained in the Word of God, right through to this day, I have been a regular and ardent listener to the insights and revelations she shares with us for our contemplation, helping us to discover and live out our Christian vocation.

Her vision has always been to use the latest communication technology available so that teaching on the Scriptures could be sent to the furthest corners of the globe more widely than she could ever hope to cover in person. This she has done, first of all through teachings on tape, and more recently on CDs. A browse on her website www. franceshogan.com will give you the breadth of topics she has covered. She combines a wonderful blend of insights and revelation she has received in prayer and study, with helpful background information, explanation and pastoral application, peppered with her special brand of Irish humour.

Just recently, through a series of divine co-incidences, she has linked up with Tony and Barbara Hanway, an Irish couple with media background, who have helped her produce her teachings on DVDs. The first of these, the second half of John’s Gospel, is called “The Mystery of the Passover” Part I and Part II. Each set contains eight half hour talks, originally filmed for EWTN Catholic Television Network. Filmed in her own book lined study, sharing the Word of God with friends, Frances takes the listener through John’s Gospel. The talks are interspersed with artwork, music scored and played by Tony Hanway, and short pieces of poetic film, which give opportunity to those who respond more to the visual, to be touched by her teaching. She has also filmed ‘Prophesy in Song’ a series of meditations on the Psalms.

In January of this year when Frances was praying, into her mind came the image of an old fashioned scroll. At first she thought it was a distraction and pushed it to the back of her mind, but the image became stronger and clearer and she was able to read the calligraphy written on it. These she believes were titles of the next scriptural DVDs the Lord was asking her to produce. They included “Diamonds from Daniel”, “Pearls from Paul”, “Miracles from Mark”, “Insights from Isaiah” and “Hope from Hosea”. Frances has already filmed with the Hanways “Diamonds from Daniel” and “Miracles from Mark” and she is praying about which titles to do next. A feast in store for us!

You can hear Frances speaking in person on “Diamonds from Daniel” at the Scripture week-end at SION, Brentwood on the 25th – 27th September.

For details, e-mail eileenalana50 @ talktalk.net or phone 0208 531 7020. DVD’s are available from Good News Books and can also be ordered online from www.tonyhanway.com or www. franceshogan.com



This is a six session programme for use in the Parish, house groups, in families or by individuals produced by the Catholic Bible School in Chichester. Everything that is needed is supplied in the pack. There are six CDs (one for each session) containing music, an opening prayer and talk/ teaching. There is then a pause for a light-hearted quiz on what has been heard during the talk followed by a closing prayer and accompanying music. There are two further CDs, one has downloadable notes of the talk, quiz sheets and answer sheets, the other is a bonus CD of the music that is used during the programme. In addition there is a Leaders’ Manual to help those running the programme. Key areas cover: Finding your way around the Bible; What does the Catholic Church teach about the Bible?; Sacred Scripture: its inspiration and interpretation; Understanding the Old Testament; Understanding the New Testament; Sacred Scripture in the life of the Church.

The ‘Learn More About The Scriptures’ programme can be ordered from The Catholic Bible School, Nutbourne House, Farm lane, Nutbourne,Chicheste.PO18 8SSD, by phone on 01243 371766 or email info @ catholic-bible-school.org. Priced at £28.99, there is no need to pay in advance as they will send an invoice with the course. The School’s website www.catholic-bible-school.org gives details of the many other varied and exciting courses and study days held at the school. Geoff and Gina are available to talk and work in parishes.


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