National Institute for the Word of God

Home | History | Publications | Guide | Useful Links


Historical Highlights from 1972 to 1999


*The First National Conference on the Word of God celebrated from September 5­7, 1972 at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception ­ gives birth to The National Institute for the Word of God (NIWG) // founding board members: Father John Burke, OP and Mr. William Graham, Mr. Robert McChesney and Father Joseph Allen

*First meeting of NIWG Advisory Board held on November 9, 1972 at which founding statements and goals were defined 11 original Episcopal Advisory Board:

The Most Reverend Philip M. Hannan, Archbishop of New Orleans

The Most Reverend Raymond J . Gallagher, Bishop of Lafayette

The Most Reverend Charles H. Helmsing, Bishop of Kansas City ­ St. Joseph

The Most Reverend James W. Malone, Bishop of Youngstown

The Most Reverend John L. May, Bishop of Mobile

The Most Reverend John R. Quinn, Bishop of Oklahoma City and Tulsa

*NIWG puts together a 30 minute, 16mm, color film on the National Congress on the Word of God entitled The Power of the Word of God


*NIWG responsible for a section on biblical preaching in The Bible Today

*NIWG preaching parish renewals


*NIWG sponsors Episcopalian­Roman Catholic Ecumenical Workshop, held at the headquarters of The Christophers in New York City

*Ecclesiastical permission obtained for the Institute prayer

*NIWG participates in regional proceedings of Catholic bishops on the subject of evangelization


*Fr. Burke addresses the Third General Assembly of UNDA­USA, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to urge a "massive saturation of the airwaves"

*Fr. Burke delivers three evangelical broadcasts on the NBC radio series, Guideline

*Cardinal Krol appoints Fr. Burke as a member of the Spiritual Renewal & Preparation Committee for the 41st International Eucharistic Congress

*At the behest of NIWG, National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW) sponsors Bible Sharing as an official program of the Council


*NIWG co­sponsors Chicago Conference on Homiletics with NCCB's Committee on Priestly Formation


*NIWG sponsors the National Congress on Evangelization, celebrated August 26­28 in Minneapolis, Minnesota (Second National Congress on the Word of God)

*Congress emphasizes future and goals of NIWG in areas of existing workshops for clergy and rectors in preaching and liturgy as well as expansion of Bible Sharing programs


*Gospel Power, by Fr. Burke, goes into second printing


*The Archdiocese of Washington, DC asks NIWG to function as its official resource for the training of lectors

*Mary Graham, editor of Bible Sharing Newsletter, conducts a well attended 4­day conference on bible sharing in Georgia

*Bill and Mary Graham rector at the Eucharistic liturgy for the 6th Eastern General Conference of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Yankee Stadium, New York

*Bill Graham lectors at the Papal Mass in Washington, DC

*Father John Burke, OP writes Bible Sharing: How to Grow in the Mystery of Christ, published by Alba House


*Executive and Assistant Directors of NIWG see their 15th year of conducting workshops in preaching

*NIWG participates in the Second Annual National Catholic Lay Celebration of Evangelization in Washington, DC, August 21­23

1981, 1982

*NIWG co­sponsors the Third National Congress on the Word of God ­ Congress takes the form of a National Ecumenical Scriptural­Theological Symposium on Preaching in Atlanta, GA, December 28 - 29, 1982


*The Pallotine Center for Apostolic Causes grants NIWG $40,000.00 to be given over a period of 2 years for operating expenses

*1983's Preaching and Celebration Laboratory featured in half­hour television program "That's the Spirit", aired on Channel 9 in New York, viewed by 750, 000 viewers, and circulated to more than 2,000 cable companies nationwide

*Father John Burke, OP edits and NIWG produces new book, A New Look at Preaching


*NIWG pilgrimage to the Holy Land, March 10­24, 1984

*NIWG puts together Proposal for Establishing Program for the Continuing Education of the Clergy in the Preaching Ministry, aiming to assist dioceses and religious in exploring for themselves an effective way of establishing a long­range continuing education in all aspects of preaching

*Father John Burke, OP publishes Beginners' Guide to Bible Sharing ­ Volume 1


*NIWG expands its services to parishes by offering five new biblically­centered programs:

Introduction to the Bible, The Bible and the Sacraments, Eucharistic Evenings with the Word of God, The 'Post­Renew' Bible Sharing Program, and You Call the Shots

1986, 1987

*NIWG produces new book, The Homilist's Guide to Scripture, Theology and Canon Law, by Dominican Fathers John Burke and Thomas P. Doyle

1988, 1989

*Fr. Burke leads pilgrimage retracing the travels of St. Paul through Turkey and Greece from April 14 ­ May 1, 1989

*Members of Think Tank convene to develop the ideas and strategies formulated at their first meeting, December 20, 1989 ­­ Catholic Coalition on Preaching formed


*Father Burke recognized by the Alumni of Catholic University of America for achievement in communication

*Father Burke returns to teaching of preaching at the Dominican House of Studies in D.C.

1991, 1992

*NIWG team celebrates 15 years of teaching Oral Interpretation of Scripture at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, VA

*Father Burke and Bill and Mary Graham begin a five year program of two week workshops at the North American College in Rome


*Bill Graham retires from chairmanship in the Drama Department of The Catholic University of America after 4 l years to enter another stage in his career working with bishops, priests, and deacons in preaching and celebration laboratories conducted by NIWG throughout the country ­ a continuation of his work with the Institute since co­founding in 1972

*As a member organization, NIWG partially sponsors the CCOP National Conference on Sunday Preaching in Chicago


*NIWG welcomes Bishop Patrick Cooney of Gaylord to the Episcopal Advisory Board and Father Paul Keller, OP as a new preacher on staff


*Second NIWG pilgrimage "In the Steps of St. Paul" led by Frs. Allen and Burke

*NIWG participates in the celebration of the Second National Conference on Preaching, Chicago

*NIWG goes on­line:

*Father John Burke, OP publishes Companion to the Prayer of Christians


*Father Burke conducts six four­day workshops in preaching for the priests, catechists and seminarians of the Solomon Islands at the invitation of the Most Reverend Bernard O'Grady, OP, Bishop of Gizo


*NIWG celebrates 25 years as CCOP celebrates Third National Conference on Preaching

*NIWG welcomes Bishop William Curlin of Charlotte to the Episcopal Advisory Board

*Current Episcopal Advisory Board:

The Most Reverend John R. Quinn, Retired Archbishop of San Francisco

The Most Reverend David E. Foley, Bishop of Birmingham

The Most Reverend Juan A. Arzube, Retired Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles

The Most Reverend Rene H. Gracida, Bishop of Corpus Christi

The Most Reverend James W. Malone, Retired Bishop of Youngstown

The Most Reverend Patrick R. Cooney, Bishop of Gaylord

The Most Reverend William G. Curlin, Bishop of Charlotte


*NIWG Celebrates 25th Anniversary, Cincinnati, Ohio, September 22, 1997.

*NIWG participates in NCCE 14th Annual National Conference, Bloomington, MN, June 11-14, 1997

*NIWG participates in CCOP National Conference on Preaching, Cincinnati, Ohio, September 19-24, 1997

*Fr. Burke’s article, "Homily," appears in Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Catholic Doctrine, 1997.

*Presented various training programs, lector workshops, and adult education courses for both religious and laity.


*NIWG participates in NCCE 15th Annual National Conference, Bloomington, MN, June 10-14, 1998

*Fr. Burke placed on Advisory Board for Veritates Communications Inc. (YOU! Magazine), located in Los Angeles, CA, January 1999.

*Fr. Burke’s article, "The Gift of the Priestly Homily," appears in Homiletic and Pastoral Review, November 1999.

*Presented various training programs, lector workshops, and adult education courses for both religious and laity.