In January of 2022, a group of Catholic organizers from the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, are holding their annual “Jubilee of the Word Bible Marathon.” This four-day event will feature non-stop reading of the Bible by hundreds of readers from January 19 – 23. This year’s iteration will be livestreamed from Facebook, so the faithful the world over can tune in.
Bible in four days
The program was organized by the Community of Jesus Crucified, a Catholic group that also runs the Fête-Dieu du Teche, an annual 40-mile Eucharistic procession on the Bayou Teche during the Feast of the Assumption. For years they have been hosting the Bible-reading marathon, which drew 3,000 people for the in-person reading in 2018.
In a 2019 interview with The Eunice News, Fr. Michael Champagne, of the Community of Jesus Crucified, explained the event.
“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. God’s pre-eminent 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.”
The reading is expected to take about 100 hours to complete. Lectors will be drawn from all Christian denominations and will represent as many as 121 parishes in the Diocese of Lafayette. Seeking to accentuate the rich cultural heritage of the region, passages will be read in several languages, including English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Vietnamese, Hebrew, Latin, and Greek.
The event will be held outdoors in the square of St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church. In-person attendees are as welcome as online viewers. They will also use the public opportunity to reveal a new addition to the festivities.
This year the Community of Jesus Crucified is introducing “Friar Truck,” what appears to be a converted fire truck with an enormous wooden pulpit in place of the ladder. Its name is a play on the character “Friar Tuck” from Robin Hood. It is unclear if lectors will read from the mobile pulpit. On Facebook, they call it “a mobile pulpit for reading the Bible on the geaux and itinerant preaching.”
The Community of Jesus Crucified is no stranger to Catholic-themed vehicles. On their website they document the efforts of one priest who converted an ambulance into a “Spiritual Care Unit.” The emergency vehicle now acts as a mobile confessional, which has served over 4,000 Catholics with the sacrament of Reconciliation.
Visit the event page to learn when to tune in or how to become a lector for this annual Bible reading.