ST. MARTINVILLE, La. (CNS) — An annual 100-hour, nonstop public Bible reading takes place in St. Martinville in the Diocese of Lafayette Jan. 19-23.
The holy Bible will be read publicly from cover to cover without pause in the square of the diocese’s oldest church parish, St. Martin de Tours. The parish was erected in 1765 and the present church dates to 1836.
The reading will begin at 12:30 p.m. (local time) Jan. 19 and end at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 23, which is Word of God Sunday.
During the four days of continuous reading, 300 lectors from the various 121 parish churches in the Diocese of Lafayette as well as faith leaders from other denominations from across the Acadiana region will be employed.
The Bible Marathon will help to accentuate “the rich cultural heritage of the region by including its various nationalities and languages,” said a news release on the event.
In addition to English, selections from the Bible will be read in French, Italian, German, Spanish, Vietnamese, Hebrew, Latin and Greek. Over 3,000 people usually attend at various times throughout the 100 hours.
Fête-Dieu du Teche in conjunction with St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church is hosting the Bible Marathon. Fête-Dieu du Teche is an organization that sponsors an annual eucharistic boat procession of the same name each August to celebrate faith, family and tradition in the Lafayette Diocese.
The Bible Marathon will be livestreamed on the Fête-Dieu du Teche Facebook page.
The special event is intended to help “prime the pump” and reignite a love for the word of God and its practice in our lives, said Father Michael Champagne, a priest of the Community of Jesus Crucified, who is the organizer of the event.
“People everywhere love to exercise. It’s important to stay in physical shape, which is why many participate in programs such as CrossFit and compete in Iron Man races, triathlons and marathons. And we wanted to provide a way for people to spiritually exercise,” the priest said. “We, as Christians, and all men and women of goodwill, need to ‘shake the dust off’ our Bibles and begin to ponder God’s plan for our lives.”
“In these chaotic times we often get confused about how we are to act in our personal lives, in our families, at work and in our dealings with others,” he added. “God’s preeminent way of speaking to us is through the sacred Scriptures.
“Every page of the Bible recounts God’s burning and fatherly love for us, and the Bible Marathon is a reminder of that love.”
Lafayette Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel participates in the Bible Marathon every year.
He said it “serves as a reminder of the importance of the Bible, the word of God and the sacred Scriptures.”