St. Mary’s participating in national effort to commemorate Pope Francis’ visit to U.S.

More than 50 institutions will turn same page of Saint John’s Bible each day

Illuminated illustration depicts Day 1 of Creation in the St. John's Bible

Beginning Monday, Sept. 21, and each day of Pope Francis’ historic visit to America, St. Mary’s University will join schools, churches, libraries and hospitals across the country by turning to the same page of The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition.

This simple act will be a rich symbol of Christian unity as the American people welcome the Holy Father. The effort is called “Illuminating the Mission: 7 Days – 7 Pages.” Pages will be turned, and reflections read, in Assumption Chapel at the beginning of Mass, except for Saturday (noted below).

Monday, Sept. 21: Creation (Genesis), 12:15 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 22: Abraham and Sarah (Genesis), 12:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 23: Ten Commandments (Exodus), 12:15 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 24: Peter’s Confession (Matthew), 12:30 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 25: Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes (Mark), 12:15 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 26: Two Cures (Mark), 10 a.m., Second Floor, Blume Library
Sunday, Sept. 27: Pentecost (Acts of the Apostle), 11 a.m.

According to Saint John’s Rev. Michael Patella, OSB, who chaired the scholarship effort behind the The Saint John’s Bible, “These illuminations were specifically chosen because they resonate with values Pope Francis holds dear: hospitality; concern for the poor, sick and marginalized; the dignity of all people; and care for creation.”

The Saint John’s Bible is the first handwritten, hand-illuminated Bible to be commissioned by a Benedictine Abbey in more than 550 years, and its seven-volume Heritage Edition now resides at St. Mary’s University. The Saint John’s Bible was commissioned in 1998 by the Benedictine monks of Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minn. The Heritage Edition, valued at about $150,000, is a full-scale reproduction of the original masterpiece; each volume measures 2 feet tall by 3 feet wide when open. Only 299 sets of the Heritage Edition exist.

St. Mary’s acquired the Bible in 2013 through the generosity of John and Susan Morrison, longtime friends of St. Mary’s University President Thomas M. Mengler, J.D.

The St. Mary’s University strategic plan calls for the University to play a lead role in advancing Catholic studies – as a spiritual Gateway for Catholic students, faculty and staff at St. Mary’s as well as for Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of San Antonio and throughout the Southwest.


St. Mary's University, founded in 1852, is the first institution of higher learning in San Antonio and the oldest Catholic university in the Southwest. It offers 75 programs, including doctoral and law programs, and has a diverse student population of about 3,800 of all faiths and backgrounds. Its vision, as a Catholic and Marianist liberal arts institution, is to become one of the finest private universities in the region, a gateway for graduates to professional lives as ethical leaders in Texas, the nation and the world.

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