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Bible Travels, Focus of Diocesan Centennial Celebration

June 15, 2011 - The Saint John’s Bible is part of a year-long diocesan centennial celebration that covers nearly a 12,500 square-mile-area in the southwestern quadrant of Iowa. After displaying Heritage Edition volumes at an opening reception, fine art prints have been exhibited through regions of the Diocese of Des Moines. This is the first time the Heritage Edition has been part of a centennial celebration, and that the fine art prints have been part of a diocesan-wide traveling exhibition.

With stops in towns ranging in size from metro Des Moines, population nearly 500,000, to Grand River, population 205, the Bible prints are on a unique traveling display in parishes, schools and museums. "The smaller communities where the prints have been displayed have been pleased to be included in the traveling exhibit," said Marilyn Sharp, member of the diocesan Centennial Culture Committee. "One thing the culture committee wanted was to make the whole diocese feel a part of the celebration. The traveling exhibit helps us reach all regions of the diocese with the 18 prints the diocese purchased."

Sharp said religious education classes as well as women’s groups have visited the exhibits in the various locations. At All Saints Church in Stuart, Iowa, (population: 1,400) a religious education class had studied illumination and calligraphy last year. After viewing the prints, students asked if they could get the calligraphy pens out and try their hands at illuminations. Finally, in Dunlap (population: 1,080), the parish purchased a print for the pastor who is moving to a different parish this summer.

The prints, along with the 12 framed illuminations from the Heritage Edition, were first exhibited during Lent in Des Moines and in Logan, on the western end of the diocese. Bishop Richard Pates hosted a reception on March 16 in Des Moines during the exhibit at the Polk County Heritage Gallery. A volume of the Heritage Edition was also on display at the reception.

Bishop Pates said it has been an honor to have the Heritage Edition and the fine art prints as part of the centennial celebration. "The focus of our centennial year is evangelization. We are appreciative of how The Saint John’s Bible has contributed to our efforts to spread the message of Jesus to our diocesan community — indeed of all faith traditions," he said. "The many visitors to the exhibit were deeply inspired by the beauty of the art and experienced lasting spiritual feelings from their viewing of the display."

A set of the Heritage Edition volumes has been acquired by Chuck and Janet Haas of Des Moines. The Haas family plans to display the volumes at various churches and schools throughout the diocese in the coming months and years. "We feel it is a privilege and an honor to have The Saint John’s Bible in our home," said Chuck Haas. "We want to share this wonderful work with all those who are interested and can help make this happen."

The centennial year will conclude with a Liturgical Celebration on Nov. 6 with Archbishop Emeritus Harry Flynn of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, as the keynote presenter at the closing ceremony. In April 2008, Archbishop Flynn was presented with a Heritage Edition in honor of his 11 years of pastoral leadership and service as archbishop to the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.