Escobedo Saint John’s Bible Series to feature Superior General of Society of Saint Sulpice

Witherup to explore Dei Verbum, Catholic Teaching

The Rev. Ronald Witherup, S.T.L., Ph.D., will present “Eat This Book: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Dei Verbum and Catholic Teaching in the Bible” on Wednesday, Oct. 21, as part of the Escobedo Saint John’s Bible Lecture Series.

Witherup will give an explanation of how and why the Bible plays such an important role in the lives of Christians – Catholic or otherwise – and how that role has matured since Vatican II’s “Dei Verbum” (Word of God).

Witherup is Superior General of the Society of Saint Sulpice and lives in Paris. A former academic dean and Professor of Sacred Scripture, he served 11 years as Provincial of the U.S. Province of Sulpicians. He frequently preaches at retreats and gives lectures around the world.

The event will be held at 7 p.m. in the University Center’s Conference Room A on campus. Volumes of The Saint John’s Bible will be on display, and a reception will follow.

Witherup has written many publications, including numerous books – most recently, Gold Tested in Fire: A New Pentecost for the Catholic Priesthood (2012), Saint Paul and the New Evangelization (2013) and Scripture at Vatican II: Exploring Dei Verbum (2014).

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 exist, and St. Mary’s owns the only one in Texas.

Rubén M. Escobedo (B.B.A. ’60) and his wife, Verόnica Salazar Escobedo, gave $500,000 last year to create the Escobedo Saint John’s Bible Lecture Series Endowment. The gift allows for the recruitment of scriptural scholars, research and curriculum design, and other programming as St. Mary’s seeks to establish a Center for Catholic Studies.

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.


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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