Laura Bernardini is a lifelong Catholic but had never read the Bible from cover to cover
For the next year, she's going to read every word, from Genesis to Revelation
Editor’s Note: Laura Bernardini is director of coverage in CNN’s Washington, D.C. bureau. The views expressed in this column belong to Bernardini.
In the beginning… there was the Bible, and it was a very Good Book.
But this Catholic hadn’t read it – at least, not from cover to cover. So, in the middle of Holy Week, I decided to finally take the plunge.
Let me explain.
My name is Laura Bernardini and I’m a director of coverage at CNN, which means I manage our newsgathering and newsroom in Washington. I’m also a lifelong Catholic.
At work this week, I was talking with some colleagues about Pope Francis’ upcoming trip to the United States. During the course of that conversation, I admitted something that has privately bothered me for a long time. I have never read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. This from someone who jokingly refers to herself as the highest-ranking Catholic in the bureau.
My excuse always has been that Catholics have their Bible passages read to them at Mass every Sunday. And there are so many people that can so effortlessly quote long and beautiful passages. I love to read, there is no excuse.
Still, it made me wonder: Why I had not read the Good Book cover to cover?
I took a scriptures class in 9th grade of my Catholic high school, but we moved through that year with only selected passages to journal about. Later, when I graduated, my grandparents gave me a beautiful Bible that has traveled with me from Vermont to Montreal to Atlanta and finally to Washington. But in 24 years, I never so much as cracked the cover, other than to write the date I received the gift.
In that newsroom conversation this week, Daniel Burke, the religion editor at CNN.com, suggested I read the Bible each day for a year and chronicle it weekly for Belief. I will admit to being pretty stunned and a little scared at the prospect. I figured that no one would care about my thoughts or my process. I am no scholar, no expert on scripture, as should be obvious.
But the more we talked, the more the idea grew on me. I have committed to training regimens for 5Ks and countless diets, so why not try this? I have been looking for a form of meditation in my hectic life. This might just be it.
My friends seem excited about this project, sending me some of their favorite passages, which I’m keeping a list of. One Catholic friend offered to join me, suggesting I get a blank journal to help me take notes. The colleague that I sit next to everyday has already sent me his Bar Mitzvah passage and wants to discuss it when I get there. Another friend’s daughter is making her first Holy Communion in May, and has also offered to connect us because her class is reading the Bible in school.
So, in a way, I’m going back to first grade in Catholic school. Yay for me.
Overall, my friends and family are mainly curious how this journey will end.
I am, too. Will I make it all the way to Revelation come next spring?
I start on Easter Sunday. I hope you’ll join me.