Welcome to The Word Proclaimed Institute Online! Fr. Francis Martin is pleased to offer several levels of service to those interested in deepening their experience of The Word.
- Free resources are available to visitors with no user registration required. This includes weekly reflections on the scriptures for the upcoming Sunday in the Roman Catholic liturgy.
- Additional free resources are available to visitors who create a user account, including access to libraries of materials offered for a limited time to non-registered visitors (see login form to the left).
- A weekly newsletter listing the availability of new materials is available for those who register specifically for the newsletter (signup form is below the login form to the left).
- The online store offers materials for sale, books authored and/or edited by Fr. Francis Martin, and audio talks, both recent and from his 50 years as a member of the Roman Catholic clergy.
This ministry subsists on the generosoty of it's members. Please remember us in your annual offerings so that we might continue assisting the body of the faithful in deepening their faith and experience of The Word.
The Word Proclaimed Institute (WPI) is a Catholic institute that owes its existence and inspiration to Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Exhortation, Verbum Domini. It is dedicated to the New Evangelization by serving the clergy to “be in close and constant contact with the sacred text”, as authentically taught by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, so that they can preach the Word of God with “conviction and passion” (Verbum Domini, 59). We understand that “those who have the office of teaching by virtue of sacred ordination or have been entrusted with exercising that ministry, namely, bishops, priests and deacons, [have the duty to] ‘expound the word of God (Verbum Domini, 59).’” Through various media, conferences, and direct ministry, WPI provides resources for engaging the clergy's intellects and hearts to enable them to become more effective instruments of the Lord Jesus in proclaiming His Word.
Part two of Verbum Domini called Verbum in Ecclesia (sections 52-56) depict a remarkable description of the traditional ontology of the real presence of the Word at the Liturgy:
“Saint Jerome speaks of the way we ought to approach both the Eucharist and the word of God: ‘We are reading the sacred Scriptures. For me, the Gospel is the Body of Christ; for me, the holy Scriptures are his teaching. And when he says: whoever does not eat my flesh and drink my blood (Jn 6:53), even though these words can also be understood of the [Eucharistic] Mystery, Christ’s body and blood are really the word of Scripture, God’s teaching. When we approach the [Eucharistic] Mystery, if a crumb falls to the ground we are troubled. Yet when we are listening to the word of God, and God’s Word and Christ’s flesh and blood are being poured into our ears yet we pay no heed, what great peril should we not feel?’ Christ, truly present under the species of bread and wine, is analogously present in the word proclaimed in the liturgy.” (Verbum Domini, 56).
This section, redolent of patristic and monastic experience of the power and beauty of the Word, helps the clergy to recover an obscured dimension of the Church’s life. The goal, therefore, of The Word Proclaimed Institute is to provide encouragement to all who are called to preach. When someone experiences the power of the Word that person has the joy of knowing personally what Pope Benedict refers to as the analogy between the presence of Christ in the Eucharist and his presence in the preached Word. The clergy are encouraged to recover personally this reality for themselves and for the people they serve.
The Word Proclaimed Institute is a natural outreach of Fr. Francis Martin Ministries (FFMM). When Fr. Francis Martin retired from teaching in June 2010, he made a retreat in order to discern what God wanted him to do. The Lord told Fr. Francis specifically, “Help my priests with their preaching.”
It became clear to him that the Lord wanted him to serve his brother priests by providing them with exegetical resources that would help them in preparing their homilies. He founded Fr. Francis Martin Ministries as a way to offer video, audio and print materials.
In November 2011, Fr. Francis went on weekend retreat with the FFMM advisory board to discern the next step. The idea for The Word Proclaimed Institute soon developed into a vision of a preaching institute for clergy, an institute that embraced the call of Verbum Domini. This new institute was created to train priests, seminarians and deacons to “be in close and constant contact with the sacred text”, as authentically taught by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, so that they can preach the Word of God with “conviction and passion” (Verbum Domini).
The first official activity of The Word Proclaimed Institute is our inaugural conference in July 2012.
The crest of WPI contains several elements that are of significance to the mission of our Institute. They are tied together by the experience of the Word of God entwined with fire, a fire that does not consume but enlightens, purifies, and delights.
- Our Lady of the Burning Bush is the patroness of The Word Proclaimed Institute. The burning bush is the place of God’s revelation to Moses calling him to lead his people to freedom (Exodus 3-4.) The fiery place of revelation that gave light but was not itself consumed became for the Fathers of the Church an image of Mary who welcomed the seed of the Word in her heart and body and gave birth to the Word while remaining a virgin. She most perfectly exemplifies God’s call to His people to accept willingly the seed of the Word so that it may bear much fruit within us and through us as well.
- Mount Sinai, the Source of Revelation, is in the background. A Rabbinic tradition speaks of the fire from Sinai coming to those who earnestly pondered the Scriptures in a practice known “as stringing Pearls.” Stories tell us about the fire coming from Sinai and enveloping the Rabbis as they were stringing together the words of the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings:
“'…And a fire came down and enveloped them…' We were sitting and stringing together the words of the Torah, from the Torah to the Prophets and from the Prophets to the Writings. And the words were full of joy as when they were delivered from Sinai. The fire was lapping at them as it lapped at them [coming] from Sinai. Originally, when they were given from Sinai, they were only given in fire: 'And the mountain was burning with fire right up to the heart of heaven.' As we read - 'And you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, while the mountain burned with fire to the heart of heaven, wrapped in darkness, cloud, and gloom.'” (Deut. 4:11). - From the Jerusalem Talmud
- Emmaus, meaning “warm spring”, recounts how Jesus brought the disciples back to Mt. Sinai and the stringing of pearls, when he walked with his disciples to Emmaus. “And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself… They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:27,32).
In the crest of WPI, the two disciples from Emmaus are walking down the path through Scripture led by Jesus and Our Lady of the Burning Bush, a journey that takes them back to Mt. Sinai. The Word took life in her heart and body. The Word Proclaimed Institute aims to bring the Word to life in the preaching of the disciples of Jesus in our age.
The vision for the institute is twofold: that it become an intellectual locus for scholars who wish to promote Scripture studies for clergy and secondly, that it become a locus of Biblical studies and preaching for clergy.
“’When we approach the [Eucharistic] Mystery, if a crumb falls to the ground we are troubled. Yet when we are listening to the word of God, and God’s Word and Christ’s flesh and blood are being poured into our ears yet we pay no heed, what great peril should we not feel?’ Christ, truly present under the species of bread and wine, is analogously present in the word proclaimed in the liturgy” (Verbum Domini, 56).