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Verbum’s $5 Million Giveaway

Verbum’s $5 million dollar grant to Catholic high schools is well under way and we’ve had amazing success in connecting to great Catholic schools. Today, we want to turn the spotlight onto two of our grant recipients: Benet Academy and Hackett Catholic Preparatory High School.

Founded in 1887 and staffed by the Benedictine monks of St. Procopius Abbey, Benet Academy has a long history of academic and spiritual excellence. Freshman theology teacher Kevin Clemens advocated for Benet to apply for the Verbum grant and is looking forward to spearheading the use of our curriculum in the fall. Students will begin to use the Lumen curriculum on iPads, and Mr. Clemens is looking forward to being able to introduce students to the riches of the faith in new and exciting ways:

The ability to move seamlessly within Verbum from the Scriptures to the Catechism to the writings of the popes and Church Fathers has greatly improved my ability to develop dynamic lessons. My hope for using Verbum more widely in the classroom is that my students not just study about Jesus Christ, but rather encounter Him in the living word as we receive it from the Church.

It doesn’t hurt that Benet alumnus, Fr. Robert Barron, is featured throughout the Lumen curriculum in his popular Word on Fire videos. This partnership between Verbum and Benet Academy fits right in to the solidly Catholic ethos of the school.

Another notable grant recipient is Hackett Catholic Prep in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Deacon Kurt Lucas teaches in the Theology department at Hackett and has been an enthusiastic advocate of the Lumen program. Deacon Kurt has been a faithful Verbum user since 2006 and is very excited that Verbum has launched a high school program. He hopes to expand use of the curriculum to the higher grade levels ASAP. We look forward to working with Hackett Prep and all our Verbum grant schools.

It’s not too late for your school to take advantage of our grant program! Visit www.verbum.com/education/5million and contact us today to get your share of $5 million dollars in curriculum software.

Leverage Verbum’s Visual Filters

Verbum has dozens of powerful tools, but sometimes the little things you don’t even know to look for can be incredibly helpful. This week, we want to draw your attention to Verbum’s Visual Filters with this excerpt from our Verbum 360 Training, which is currently free with any Verbum 6 Library as part of the Easter Sale.

Get the end of this chapter and training on all your favorite tools with the complete Verbum 360 Training—free!

 

Learn more about the Bible!

The Bible is the inspired word of God, and this month, Verbum features one of the most up-to-date and scholarly study Bibles available: The Catholic Study Bible, 2nd edition. Along with essays and notes by world-renowned scholars on the writing, history, and interpretation of Scripture, Verbum’s amazing functionality links you in with commentaries and resources of your choice on each page. You can save even more when you make your purchase part of a new library!

Fr. Daniel Harrington notes that the Catholic mass has included more Scripture since Vatican II:

Since Vatican II the Bible has become prominent not only in Catholic liturgy and education but also in popular piety. The revised prayers for the sacraments and other liturgical actions use biblical language almost entirely. Charismatic groups and base communities have found biblical reflection and prayer to be the source of great spiritual energy. Even traditional Catholic observances like the Rosary are (and always have been) thoroughly biblical. The language of Catholic prayer in almost every instance derives from the Bible.

…Catholic theology since the Council gives far more attention to biblical sources and is likely to express itself more in biblical than in philosophical language. Official church documents on theological matters or current problems almost always begin from Scripture and try to ground their arguments in biblical texts. The Catholic Church today is far more biblical than it was in the mid-1950s (18-9, emphasis added).

Take advantage of the special features of Verbum that enhance your study with the Catholic Study Bible, on sale through the end of the month as part of our Easter Sale.

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New to Verbum? Learn more about our powerful Catholic study tools.

 

Fulfilled in Christ by Fr. Devin Roza: enjoy Easter savings!

Last week, Fr. Devin presented a wonderful video demonstration on “The Last Seven Words of Jesus” using Verbum 6, and throughout the month of April, Fr. Devin’s book Fulfilled in Christ will be featured on Verbum’s Easter Sale!

Fulfilled in Christ explains typology, one of oldest and most important aspects of salvation history. This book has received many accolades; well-known Catholic author Scott Hahn has this to say in his Foreward:

Importantly, Fr. Roza’s book is quite timely. We are experiencing a call for a renewed emphasis on mystagogy in liturgy and catechesis…

Adult education and RCIA groups will encounter here a rich treasure trove where they can dive into the profound meaning of the sacraments as a real participation in the mysteries of Christ. Catechists and scholars will find a comprehensive and yet succinct volume which makes accessible the beauty of the Church’s typological and symbolic understanding of the sacraments, including carefully chosen and compelling excerpts from Church Fathers.

But the appeal of this book is not limited to those working with adult education or RCIA. Pastors will appreciate the fascinating connections between sacraments and Scripture that lend themselves to liturgical preaching. The summaries of the texts referenced are organically organized and theologically solid, allowing even a beginner in the faith to grasp the coherence and completeness of God’s plan of salvation and to investigate on their own.

Typological interpretation is especially appropriate today, when so many people have lost the sense of mystery in their faith. Catholics who begin to dig deep into the typology of the sacraments will encounter the mystery of our life in Christ. Fr. Roza’s study restores us to the mystery that is at the heart of our faith: the mystery of God’s love as it plays out in human history, recorded in the Bible. As Pope Benedict states:

Mystery is the heart from which our power comes and to which we return to find this center. For this reason I believe that catechesis that we might call mystagogical is very important. Mystagogical also means realistic, referring to our life as people of today. If it is true that the human being’s ‘measuring stick’ for what is just and what is not lies not within but without, in God, it is important that this God is not distant but recognizable, concrete, and that he enter our life and truly be a friend with whom we can speak and who can speak with us.(Lenten Meeting with the Clergy of the Rome Diocese, 2009)

This is the God who came down from heaven to be with us, to be our intimate friend. In bringing to life the prefiguring of the sacraments, Fr. Roza’s complete and accessible book offers a fresh, invigorating means of reading the Scriptures which was present from the earliest Christians—indeed, even Jesus himself—and which is of vital interest to believers today.

See all of the deals on the Easter sale!

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The Easter Sale is Here!

Easter is the most important holiday of the year, and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to offer a similarly significant sale to mark the occasion.

Our Easter sale is going on from now until May 1. Check out all the deals at Verbum.com/Easter!

Here’s a snapshot of the sale:

 1. Get free Verbum 6 training

Get the Verbum 360 Training series for free when you purchase any Verbum 6 library! If you already own Verbum 6, claim your free training by emailing sales@verbum.com or calling our friendly sales team at 877-542-7664.

 2. Get your custom discount

Your custom discount is based on the resources you already own, and applies in addition to a massive bundling discount and limited-time Easter savings. See how much you can save—visit Verbum.com/recommend today!

 3. Save more when you bundle top products

Save big on some of our most popular resources when you bundle them with Verbum 6. Highlights include:

  • $670.00 off the Fathers of the Church Series (127 vols.)
  • $100.00 off Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative & Poetry (13 vols.)
  • $18.00 off the Lives and Letters of the Counter-Reformation (8 vols.)
  • $7.00 off Fulfilled in Christ: The Sacraments. A Guide to Symbols and Types in the Bible and Tradition
  • And more—see them all at Verbum.com/Easter!

Take advantage of all these deals—visit Verbum.com/Easter today!

 

 

 

 

Deacon Kevin’s Easter Sunday Reflection

This guest post was written by Verbum Director Kevin Bagley, DMin.

I pray that your Lent was productive. The forty days of Lent are our opportunity to examine closely our relationships with each other and our relationship with God. Our interpersonal relationships reach across boundaries and peoples. They reach out to those on the margins of society. They reach out to our loved ones, to strengthen and improve our relationships with those closest to us. These are our horizontal relationships.

During Lent we should have worked on our relationship with God as well. Praying, fasting, making sacrifices, and striving to understand how blessed we truly are. Since we refer to Heaven as being “up there,” this is the vertical relationship.

When we place our horizontal relationships together with our vertical relationships, we have the image of a cross. What is at the center of the cross? Jesus, who lovingly paid the ultimate price for our sins, by sacrificing his life for us. Where do we find true love? Hanging on the crucifix, in Jesus, our Lord.

As you think about the sacrifice and the love God has for each of us, think also about the great gifts he left behind: the Sacraments. These outward signs of His love give us the grace to be more like Him. The more often we receive the Sacraments, the more loving, kind and compassionate we become. We become more like Jesus when we receive the Sacraments.

Together we experience the saving and redeeming power of our Lord and share in the Eucharistic celebration that brings us the grace to become more like Christ. The more we receive the Eucharist the more we grow in our belief, our trust and our love for God and our neighbor. Alone we cannot achieve the greatness as a person nor as a Catholic. We need each other to share in our joys and our sorrows.

This Easter season, may you feel the love and compassion God has for you. May you receive that love into your hearts and homes. May you share that love with everyone you encounter. Peace be with you! Alleluia, Alleluia!

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Resurrection (Noli me tangere) by Giotto, 1304-6

Holy Saturday

This guest post was written by Brody Stewart, Verbum Marketing and Promotions and Coordinator.

There’s nothing to do on Holy Saturday.

For most of the liturgical year, there’s always something to do at church. Whether it’s daily Mass, stations of the cross, praying the rosary, or some other popular devotion, there is no shortage of holy activities to occupy our time. The schedule is so predictable that most of us have developed routines. If you’re like me, you’re used to attending daily Mass every Saturday morning.

Except today, that is.

On Holy Saturday, things are different. Mass isn’t celebrated. The tabernacle is empty. The mood is somber, subdued, and sorrowful. Everything is as it should be. This sudden shock in our schedules connects us, in a small way, to Christ’s closest friends—the Apostles. Having spent three years living with Jesus, they would have grown accustomed to the rhythms of his life. Being devout Jews, they would have celebrated Jewish feasts and festivals with Jesus. They would travel with him, teach with him, and train others in his ways. They were there when he performed his first miracle. They were there when he wept at the death of Lazarus. They were there when he ate the Passover meal.

And then he was gone.

On the day of Christ’s crucifixion, the Apostles were stricken by terror and grief. Everything happened so quickly; their emotions were fresh. But the next morning, things were different. Jesus was no longer with them. Their teacher and friend was dead. On that first Holy Saturday, the Apostles sat in quiet, inconsolable mourning. Today, things are no different. Our day-to-day lives are put on pause to grieve for our crucified king. Though this day isn’t filled with church events, it should still be sacred. In our own small ways, we ought to reflect on the weight of Christ’s sacrifice and its significance in our lives. We ought to grieve for our sins. We ought to empathize with those who suffer and mourn.

In doing all this, Holy Saturday becomes more than just an empty day on our calendars. Instead, it frees us from the busyness of life and readies us for resurrection with Christ. It cultivates hope. We can’t let it pass unheeded.

So, what are you doing on Holy Saturday?

The Seven Last Words of Jesus

In honor of Good Friday, Verbum would like to invite you to a deeper meditation on Christ’s crucifixion. Fr. Devin Roza, LC, a student of Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, shows us how to find the seven last words of Jesus, and gives us some food for thought that we can carry with us throughout the day — and throughout the Triduum.

 

Wednesday of Holy Week: Gospel and Reflection

Today’s Gospel reading from Matthew is one many of us have heard before. The story of Judas handing over Jesus to the authorities for thrity pieces of silver is a familiar one, and yet there are always different aspects that can strike us as we read it, details that lead us to reflect in new ways:

Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.

Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain one, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at your house with my disciples.’” And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the passover.

When it was evening, he sat at table with the twelve disciples; and as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful, and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Is it I, Master?” He said to him, “You have said so.” (Mt 26:14-25)

Verbum can deepen your spiritual experience with resources aimed at explaining the readings and applying them to your daily life. Here, for example, is the reading for Wednesday of Holy Week from Lenten Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections by the Sisters of St. Paul:

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus shows us that fidelity to one’s vocation is lived one minute at a time. Jesus’ fidelity is a lived out in a continuous stream of ‘now’ moments: announcing the Kingdom of God, healing the sick, forgiving the sinful, all leading up to the appointed hour.

The Passover is beginning. Pilgrims are streaming into Jerusalem, including Jesus and his closest disciples. Jesus knows what is coming. ‘My appointed time draws near.’ Already in chapter 26 of Matthew he has foretold his crucifixion during the Passover (v. 2). He has declared the anointing at Bethany a preparation for his burial (v. 12). He knows, too, that one of his own disciples will betray him—an inside job.

In the face of betrayal, torture, and death, what does Jesus do? He goes on with his vocation of revealing the faithful love of God for his people. At this precise moment it means preparing and celebrating the Passover meal.
Betrayal is devastating. It is hard to say what is worse, to be caught off guard or to see it coming. Either way the sin of betrayal kicks us in the gut when we experience it. The example of Jesus is all the more astounding because, while he acknowledges Judas’ betrayal as it is happening, he does not change his plans to avoid the situation. Neither does he lash out at Judas or retaliate in any way. Jesus, the absolute expression of God’s love, is not sidetracked. Instead, he continues to freely give of himself.

Today we stand on the brink of the Sacred Triduum, and the Church gives us the calm deliberate choices of Jesus to continue his mission. He knows this will lead to Calvary. We also ponder the calculated moves of Judas, which will lead to his duplicitous kiss.

Fidelity (or its opposite) is lived out moment by moment, choice by choice. What is God calling me to in this ‘hour’ of my salvation?

Oratio

My God, I want to be with you completely in these days when we remember your passion and death. When I think of your fidelity to your vocation, your total self-giving in the face of the betrayal and the cowardice of your disciples, I am overwhelmed. Time is a precious gift; help me to spend it wisely as you did in your public ministry. Strengthen me so that in my moments of crisis I may choose faithful love no matter the cost.
Contemplatio

Faithful love is lived out moment by moment.

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Betrayal of Judas by Duccio, 1308-11

 

 

 

Deacon Kevin’s Reflections for Palm Sunday

This guest post was written by Deacon Kevin Bagley, DMin, Director of Verbum.

This weekend we experience Christ’s entry in Jerusalem. The many who had heard Him speak, witnessed a miracle, or had their lives touched by His message greeted Jesus as a celebrity and gave him a hero’s welcome into the city. The palm branches they cut down were placed on the ground as an ancient form of “rolling out the red carpet.”

In the Old Testament reading from Isaiah, we hear the tale of the suffering servant who came to preach the good news, but was rejected by those who refused to accept the message.

Saint Paul’s account is theologically rich and beautiful explaining the relationship between Christ and God the Father. You might want to re-read this passage as we encounter Christ during Holy Week.

We experience Mark’s Gospel of the Passion of our Lord. Marks’ narrative is so vivid that we can see, hear, taste, and feel as we imagine what happened during Christ’s last hours.

I encourage you to participate in as many of our liturgies as you can this week living and experiencing this most holy of weeks in our church year.  In just a few days, we see the rise of a “celebrity,” His fall, passion, and death. How much of our own life mirrors that of Holy Week?  Our successes, failures, our weakness…must be joined with the suffering of Christ for us to be fully redeemed.

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The Entry into Jerusalem by Giotto, 1305

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