Great News!



  I am excited to share some very good news! I know many of you have been praying for me as St. Mary’s Press has been in the review process for my Bible study called, The Journey Begins! This Bible study began about eleven years ago while I taught at St. Stanislaus Parish School, in Modesto, CA. I was teaching 8th grade and wanted my students to know and love the Scriptures as much as I did! So a worksheet a week is what I made and what they got! They would go home, read five chapters in the Acts of the Apostles, answer the questions, the reflection question, and write down their favorite verse to share in preparation for our Bible study each Wednesday. We got from Acts of the Apostles to the Book of Revelation that school year, and The Journey Begins! was born.

Since then I have finished a study of the Old Testament, where students (and their parents and teacher) read five chapters a week. They read all of Genesis and Exodus, and portions of Leviticus, Joshuah, Judges, Ruth, Psalms, and Proverbs. They are introduced to the story of Salvation through Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob, Moses, Joshuah, the Judges, King Saul, David, and Solomon, the fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel to the Assyrians, and the South to Babylon. All of this prepares them for an introduction to Jesus Christ in the next book in the series (picture on the left). That study has students read just two chapters per week in The Gospel of Matthew and then The Gospel of John.

This study of the O.T., the Gospels of Matthew & John, and Acts to Revelation became the focus of my Masters in Theological Study while at the Franciscan School of Theology, at Berkeley. The series is being used at a few Catholic elementary schools in the Diocese of Stockton and at Palma High School, where I teach, in Salinas.

Well, the first good news is that SMP published the second in the series of three called, An Introduction to Jesus Christ According to Matthew & John. They shared it in Florida at an education conference to get a feel for interest in it, and I have just received the second bit of good news, that they will now publish the first and third books in the series, An Introduction to the Old Testament, and An Introduction to the Early Church; Acts of the Apostles to the Book of Revelation. This is truly good news for our Catholic schools around the country that take knowledge of Scripture seriously enough to use them, for Catholic school teachers who teach with them, and for those families who work on the workbooks together! This one Bible study tool will exponentially increase Biblical literacy at all levels of the Church in our country!

St. Mary’s Press is a national and international publishing  company so my hope for these books is great! Please pray that schools love and use this workbook! Pray for principals’ courage to adopt these for their schools, for those teachers’ willingness to go beyond their curriculum textbooks to adopt and teach the Bible to their students, and to learn it themselves! The schools who have used this workbook have come to love the Scriptures through it! I get great feedback from students, teachers, and parents who do the worksheets as a family.

These are NOT nor do they contain Biblical commentaries. There are a wide variety of great Biblical commentaries out there that someone could use as they read the Bible, but the purpose of this is simply to increase Biblical love and literacy by reading through the Scriptures and then discussing them in class! I would love to see elementary schools, high schools, home-school parents, parish faith formation programs, and families who take their love of Jesus Christ seriously enough to be guided through God’s Word together, go to St. Mary’s site and check out these workbooks (the O.T. and Acts to Revelation is still in progress).

So, my good news has morphed into a prayer and a request. Please pray for greater appreciation for Scripture in our Church and for widespread use of these workbooks. My request is that you forward this post to your pastor, principal, teacher, and/or Bible study group! Thank you so much for all you’ve done to make this successful so far!

By Deacon Stephen Valgos

3 comments on “Great News!

  1. I am a parent of one of those original 8th graders and I can say that we were all truly blessed by Stephen and his passion for his faith. Congratulations Stephen and may God’s grace continue to fall upon you and yours.

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