By VICTOR CALDERON
The New Vision
Diocese of Tucson leaders are studying the possibility of offering a Biblical Institute to Catholics in Southern Arizona to study Scripture, Bishop Gerald Kicanas and others said this past month.
Bishop Kicanas was approached by Msgr. Tom Cahalane, pastor at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson, with the possibility of starting a program in the diocese to provide opportunities for people to study the Bible. The two met with pastors and leaders from other parishes at OMOS on Aug. 16.
“I’m passionately excited about a Bible Institute in Tucson,” Msgr. Cahalane said. “I would say there is a great need for this to happen in our diocese because the power of words extends beyond the Eucharist and this would allow us to go deeper in our understanding of the Bible.
Diocesan officials have as a model the Loyola Institute for Spirituality’s Catholic Bible Institute in the Diocese of Orange in California. The CBI is a three-year program that meets one Saturday each month from August to May.
The first year includes an introduction to the New Testament, the second year an overview of the Hebrew Scriptures and the third concludes the biblical study and application of skills in Bible-study leadership.
Father Felix Just, S.J., is a Tucson native and director of the Loyola Institute who attended the Aug. 16 meeting and expressed an interest in assisting with the establishment of an institute in Tucson.
“There is a need for Biblical knowledge in the Catholic Church,” Father Just said. “It’s designed to train people who will be facilitators for others in their parishes.”
Diocesan leaders will continue to meet with parishioners and pastors as well as the Pastoral Services Department for the diocese regarding the possible institute, Bishop Kicanas said.
“We are a people of the Book and people need to understand and know better the Word of God,” he said. “We need more Scripture learning to better explain it in our day and time.”
Msgr. Cahalane said he is interested in hosting a six-week mini –institute, tentatively scheduled from Oct. 25 to Nov. 29.