FINAL STATEMENT AND RECOMMENDATIONS
12TH NATIONAL WORKSHOP ON THE BIBLICAL APOSTOLATE
Theme: “The Word of God made flesh by the power of
the Holy Spirit” (John 1:14; Luke 1:35).
Paraclete Complex, Archdiocese of Palo
March 3-6, 1997
“Fan into a flame the gift of God that you possess” (2 Timothy 1:6-7).
We, the 190 workers of the Biblical Apostolate, gathered from all over the country to rekindle together our common fervor for God’s Word. We were warmly welcomed by the community of God’s Little Children in the midst of misty hills and lush surroundings of the Paraclete Complex in Tacloban City, Archdiocese of Palo, on 3-6 March 1997.
We have been truly with the Spirit of love and wisdom as we reflected on the theme: “The Word of God made flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit” (John 1:14; Luke 1:35). This reflection is to lead us to align our Biblical Apostolate to the Celebration of the Great Jubilee Year of Redemption.
Our hearts, burning with the transformative power of the Spirit, were fanned anew by the input of various speakers by our sharing of prayer and faith experiences in the Biblical apostolate. We were challenged by Jesus’ words to Phillip: “Have I been with you for so long a time and still you do not know me?” (John 14:19) Confessing our inadequacies and inconsistencies, we were urged to know Jesus more and give him flesh in our culture. We were energized by the words of Isaiah as applied to Jesus: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor….. And proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” (Isaiah 61:1-2; Luke 4: 18-19)
Recognizing the need for unity and coordination for the Biblical Apostolate, we commit ourselves to put flesh to the following recommendations:
For the Episcopal commission for the Biblical Apostolate (ECBA) National office:
1. Let the national office of the ECBA in Manila gather all materials on the Biblical Apostolate produced in all regions of the country. Let it set up a system of easy access to these materials and other useful tools for workers of the Biblical Apostolate.
2. Let it publish a periodic newsletter to disseminate information, experiences and articles from different regions on the Biblical Apostolate. This newsletter can be source of bonding among the different workers of the Biblical apostolate and at the same time can be used for their on-going formation.
3. Let it offer annually a Bible retreat for clergy so that they may renew their zeal and commitment to the ministry of the Word. For 1997, let the retreat be focused on Jesus Christ; and for 1998, on the Holy Spirit, in line with the Church’s program for the Third Millennium. This may be done in coordination with other Episcopal Commissions, particularly on the clergy and on Jubilee Preparation.
4. Let it facilitate the acquisition of Bibles for poor areas. It can do this by tapping the resources of groups, agencies, communities and movements and directing them to areas where Bibles are needed.
For Regional centers and directors:
1. Let the regional centers and directors produce and distribute formation modules about Jesus Christ and on the Holy Spirit in the vernacular for the Biblical apostolate in collaboration with the diocesan centers and directors.
2. Let them offer courses and seminars on Jesus Christ and on the Holy Spirit to Diocesan/Parish apostolate workers/formators within their region.
3. Let them coordinate the human, material and financial resources of the Biblical Apostolate within their region.
4. Let them send at least one or two persons engaged in the Biblical Apostolate to be trained in multi-media technology to institutions offering these courses.
For Archdiocesan/Diocesan Centers and directors:
1. Let the Archdiocesan/Diocesan centers and directors conduct a seminar/workshop on Jesus Christ in 1997 and on the Holy Spirit in 1998.
2. Let them see to it that at least one or Two Bible seminars are conducted in every Parish of the Diocese within these two years.
3. Let them facilitate/coordinate activities of Bible-Based communities and groups for more fruitful use and understanding of the Bible.
4. Let them train facilitators for the Bible Seminars within the Diocese.
For the Parish centers and coordinators:
1. Let the parish centers and coordinators offer a formation program on Jesus Christ and on the Holy Spirit within two years.
2. Let them encourage and offer opportunities to Bible-sharing groups within the parish to go out of their way to encounter Jesus, moved by the Spirit, in the poor and the marginalized, and to be committed to him in them.
3. Let them promote the Bible not just for personal enrichment but for building Christ-centered communities of faith.
4. Let them bring down to the people in the parish all the Biblical apostolate modules prepared by the diocesan and regional Biblical centers.
For the participants of this workshop (personal):
1. As participants of this workshop, let us offer authentic and prophetic witnesses to Jesus Christ in our use of the Bible by integrating the Gospel values in the affairs of the family and in our work by having solidarity with the poor and the marginalized.
2. Let us share what we have gained from this National Workshop such as giving talks on Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
3. Let us practice lectio divina in our personal use of the Bible and let us share this method to others.
4. Let us support and promote the Catholic media by patronizing them and by financial assistance, if possible.
Unable to contain the fervor, rekindled by the Spirit, and renewed by what “was made visible to us” (1 John 1:2) through our shared faith experience, we ardently entreat the gracious intercession of our Blessed Virgin Mary – the Star of Evangelization and Our Lady of the Bible – for the fulfillment of these resolutions.
We seek not that we be entirely successful but solely and more profoundly that we be faithful to the Lord in His mandate to “go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:29)
MAY THE LORD JESUS CHRIST OUR SAVIOR BE EVERYWHERE KNOWN AND ADORED!
(Sgd.) + Crisostomo A. Yalung, D.D.
Episcopal Commission for the Biblical Apostolate
The Episcopal Commission for the Biblical Apostolate (ECBA) is a pastoral commission of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) whose area of competence and service is the biblical-pastoral ministry in its five-fold ministries of:
Animating Biblical-Pastoral Formation (ABPF),
Organizing Bible Celebration (OBC),
Promoting Bible Translation (PBT),
Assisting Bible Production (ABP),
Coordinating Bible Distribution (CBD).
A Community of Disciples
nourished by the Word of God,
Witnessing to the Gospel,
and Striving to be a Church
that is poor and for the poor,
with Mary, Mother of the Word, as model.
We commit ourselves to a renewed evangelization through the
implementation of Vatican II’s Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum)
and the Plenary Council of the Philippines’ (PCP II) vision of a Church of
the Poor in our reading, studying,
praying, living, sharing and celebrating the Word of God in response to Verbum Domini's call to “animate every
pastoral activity in the Church with the Word of God”. (VD 73) .