In 1986 the Society of the Divine Word and the Catholic Biblical Federation established the Dei Verbum Biblical Pastoral Center at Nemi as a "joint venture." Dei Verbum was then described as a formation program of the CBF which was carried out by the SVD as an associate member of the CBF. Since 1987 the Society of the Divine Word has provided the facilities, appointed the directors, and taken financial responsibihty for the program. Through its general secretary the CBF has provided a plan of operation, some of the advertisement, and some of the resource persons.
As a joint venture between the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) and the Catholic Biblical Federation (CBF), the course was organized – with few exceptions – every year until 2015. Altogether 27 batches prepared the total of 616 alumni, among them 147 SVDs, 131 diocesan priests, 237 other religious, and 101 lay people for work in the biblical apostolate in their respective life-situations.
In 2019 a reshaped edition has started with 24 participants from 16 countries of origin / work. The inspiration of the specific objectives draws from the address of John Paul II given on April 7, 1986 to the CBF Executive Committee: “There is a great need for the solid formation of ministers of the Word of God, of all who teach and preach the Gospel of salvation… Ministers of God’s Word – priests, deacons, and other lay-people – should be immersed in the Scriptures through constant reading and diligent study, accompanied by prayer. As far as possible, they should be acquainted with the insights of modern biblical scholarship”.
The course looks to provide three main objectives:
The focus is on developing practical skills and insights. Also the written project which is to be prepared by the participants toward the end of the course serves both as integration of knowledge, skills and insights gained during the course, and preparation for the service in their own local Church.
In this new stage the course is run entirely by the Society of the Divine Word and will be offered every two years.
Several shorter forms of the "Dei Verbum Course" have been developed especially in Africa. The course "Dei Verbum" in the modality of one month is being organized annually in:
The same modality is in the preparation phase and will be offered in the near future in: