Episcopal Commission on the Biblical Apostolate

Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines

National Bible Week/Sunday 2010

December 10, 2009 

 

 

Re: National Bible Week-Sunday 2010

 

 

Dear Fathers, Brothers, Sisters, Partners in the Biblical-Pastoral Ministry,

 

 

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!  We are one in joyful celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus, the Incarnate Word.   As we are the Father’s gifts to Jesus (Jn 17:21),   so we are also gifts to one another.

 

Our National Bible Week  on  January  25- 31, 2010 calls for unity in making the prayer of Jesus come true, that “they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us…”  (Jn 17:21). The unbelievers and the faith seekers will believe in Jesus as the one sent by the Father when a common union is experienced and lived by us.  The Bible Week gives us a chance to explore different approaches in deepening our experience of the Living Word in the sanctuary of our homes and families,  in  our busy life in schools, offices and institutions, in centers of formation and renewal, in the government and military service and in the Basic Ecclesial Communities.

 

In addition to our regular activities for the National Bible Week, we would like to propose some activities:

 

  • Bible Enthronement in homes and Families, in classrooms and offices, in chapels and Churches (also on birthdays, anniversaries etc)
  • Integrate Bible Enthronement   in   novenas, devotions and where it is possible   in liturgical celebrations
  • Gospel Sharing in homes and in the BEC, before or after Holy Mass, in different occasions
  • Ecumenical   Bible Parade and Bible Rally with biblical quotations in posters and flaglets
  • Request  a letter of endorsement or municipal ordinance from authorities to encourage public and community Bible reading in accordance to Presidential  Decree Nos. 1923 (Oct 27,1979 – Marcos) and Pres. Proclamation 44 (1986 Aquino) and PP 1067(Ramos)
  • Request for a Pastoral Letter  from the Local Ordinary for the full participation of the faithful  in reading, studying, praying , celebrating and supporting  the national bible week  celebration and the Bible Sunday Collecta (40%diocese, 30% region, 30% ECBA)
  • Family Bible Quiz – Youth Bible Quiz- Children’s Bible Quiz – Senior Citizens’ Bible Quiz
  • Biblia Sports Festival : Biblialakad (pilgrims walking to Shrine); Bibliabola (games with biblical names of teams); Bibliagala (public reading and parade of biblical personalities in different attires)
  • Gospel Song Festivals (and concerts) : public contest during the week;   semi-finalists on Saturday and Championship on Bible Sunday
  • Live Radio interviews  and Updates on the daily activities during the National Bible Week
  • Salitext : forwarding biblical verse and Bible Anime
  • CONTINUOUS READING  OF  THE BIBLE  from Genesis to Revelation on Jan.30 afternoon, eve of  Bible Sunday  – distributed to all Regional  Biblical Centers  (mechanics to be emailed/faxed)


Kindly fill up (www.ecba-cbcp.com – web form registration) the Registration form for the coming 5th National Consultation and the 18thNational Biblical Workshop. The Diocesan Directors are requested to come for the 5th National Consultation (Feb 8 and 9 AM) with a registration fee of P5,000.00 only (inclusive of National Biblical Workshop). Delegates for the 18th National Biblical Workshop   (Feb. 9PM-13) will pay P4,500.00 only.  Each Diocese is entitled to send 2-3 people with the Director. The Regional Center can send 3-5 staff members.

 

Truly, the Word of God is the life and mission of the Church. Let us pray for the success of the National Consultation and National Biblical Workshop.

 

 

In the Incarnate Word,

 

[Signed]

Fr. Oscar A. Alunday, SVD

Executive Secretary - ECBA

Bible Society launches i-Proclaim! on National Bible Week 2010

The Philippine Bible Society which yearly spearheads the National Bible Week (NBW) celebration launches i-Proclaim! on NBW 2010A campaign to conduct public oral readings of the Bible in as many locations across the country, I! Proclaim is a cooperative effort by the Philippine Bible Society and local churches to bring God’s Word closer to Filipinos and to encourage everyone to explore it riches and relevance to their lives.


National Bible Week is a yearly national celebration empowered by Proclamation No. 44 by President Corazon C. Aquino and by Proclamation No. 1067 by President Fidel V. Ramos. Both edicts recognize the important role played by the reading and study of the Bible in molding the moral fiber of our citizenry and encourage every Filipino to do so daily. National Bible Week 2010 is scheduled for January 25-31 and National Bible Sunday on January 31, 2010.


This year, the highlight of the celebration will be i-Proclaim!—an historic, ecumenical, public oral reading of the Bible that seeks to draw Filipinos together during these trying times, under the banner of God’s Word. i-Proclaim!also offers a unique opportunity to support the May They Be One Bible Campaign which seeks to produce and distribute 5 million Bibles to 5 million poor Filipino families within the next 5 years.


i-Proclaim! is patterned after the Canadian Bible Society’s Proclamation which began in Quebec, 

 

Ways of Conducting an i!-Proclaim Bible Reading

 

  1. Option 1:  Vigil - Diocesan Reading Provide musical instruments and biblical songs during the reading


To be conducted after the anticipated mass at 6 p.m. on January 30, 2010.  The Bible reading will be conducted simultaneously in all 87 dioceses nationwide after the anticipated mass.  Each diocese has an assigned portion to read. The number of lectors/readers may vary depending on the length of the scriptures to the diocese/parish to read.

Program Guide:  for i!-Proclaim BIBLE READING

    

            JOYFUL SONG

            BIBLE ENTHRONEMENT

            SONG: THY WORD

            OPENING PRAYER

            INTRODUCTION:  Background on Bible Proclamation (script provided)

            JOYFUL SONG

            BIBLE SCANNING/ BOOKS OF THE BIBLE (script provided)

            SOLEMN SONG

            BIBLE READING & PROCLAMATION Proper

            CLOSING PRAYER

            CLOSING SONG

 

Reminders:

1   Please ensure prayerful reading and proclamation with ample moments of silence as needed for meditation. Provide Bibles, musical instruments and biblical songs during the reading.

2.  Readers must be appointed and given their assignments beforehand so they can practice.  Biblical Apostolate animators and facilitators coordinate with the lectors and liturgical commission of the diocese/parish. 

3.Wherever it is possible, the Bible proclamation and reading should be ecumenical, enjoining the participation of different churches in the spirit of unity and in accordance with the theme of the NBW—May They Be One: The Word of God is the Life and Mission of the Church

 

Option 2:  BEC Bible Reading


BECs come together in a public place or in the church/chapel to hold a continuous Bible Reading

Program Guide for  i!-Proclaim BIBLE READING

            JOYFUL SONG

            BIBLE ENTHRONEMENT

            SONG: THY WORD

            OPENING PRAYER

            INTRODUCTION:  Background on Bible Proclamation (script provided) 

            JOYFUL SONG

            BIBLE SCANNING/ BOOKS OF THE BIBLE (script provided)

            SOLEMN SONG:

            BIBLE READING & PROCLAMATION

            CLOSING PRAYER

            CLOSING SONG


Reminders:

  1. Assign a BEC to read the allotments as detailed in attachment.  If the number of BECs are less than 87, they can rotate or round robin until all books have been read – Genesis through Revelation.
  2. Please ensure prayerful reading and proclamation with ample moments of silence as needed for meditation.
  3. Readers must be appointed and given their assignments before hand so they can practice.  Get a mixture of children, youth, adult, male and female participants.
  4. Biblical Apostolate animators and facilitators coordinate with the lectors and liturgical commission of the diocese/parish.
  5. Wherever it is possible, the Bible proclamation and reading should be ecumenical, enjoining the participation of different churches in the spirit of unity and in accordance with the theme of the NBW—May They Be One: The Word of God is the Life and Mission of the Church.

 

 

 

Option 3:  Radio Bible Proclamation /Bible Reading on the Air


Follow the Program Guide

a) Invite different religious organizations and mandated organizations to read the Word of God on the air.

b) This will take the place of the praying of the Holy Rosary with proper arrangement with the radio station    management. This can be done nightly from 15-30 minutes. It is highly recommended that the Bible be read in the local language/dialects of the region.  Copies of Bibles in indigenous languages may be requested from PBS (526-7777) and SIL (722-6168).

c)Bible reading can also be done in other programs.  If possible, every program from sign on to sign off for the whole of Bible Week (January 25-31), will commit to devote at least 5 minutes to Bible Reading. The bible reading may be accompanied by appropriate background music.

d)The readings may be done by on-board announcers.  For those who do not have live programs 24-7, recorded dramatic Bible Reading cds may be requested from PBS. (available in Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano).

 

Option 4:  Bible Reading in the Classroom

Follow the Program Guide

a)Can start during flag ceremony and extend to classroom—during religion or values subjects.  Another option is to conduct 5 minute readings daily at the beginning of every class from Monday to Friday of Bible Week (January 25-31)regardless the subject.  May culminate on a gospel song festival on a Friday or Saturday, or on Bible Sunday, January 31. 2010.

b)Ensure ecumenical reading with students/teachers who may not be Catholic also participating

c)The teacher is at liberty to choose from portions of the Scriptures that will be read in class.  But it would be best to conduct the readings following a topical outline:  Psalms, Gospels, Letters, etc.

 

Option 5: Bible Reading in Military Camps


Follow the Program Guide

To be conducted after the anticipated mass at 6pm on January 30, 2010.  The Bible reading will be conducted simultaneously in  military chapels  nationwide after the anticipated mass.  It can also be done after the regular Sunday Mass.  Each chapel  has an assigned portion to read. The number of lectors/readers may vary depending on the length of the scriptures to the chapel / unit to read.

i-Proclaim! Read the Whole Bible in 15 Minutes

 

Three hundred seventy-five people (375) can read these scripture references aloud in 15 minutes. Each person can read one of the references in fifteen minutes while reading approximately 2,205 words at 147 words a minute. The final readings in both the Old and New Testaments are shorter than the others.  Print off the scripture assignment / division sheets and copy then pass them out to each of the readers who will then select a reading.


Suggestions for use:

  • Use the same translation – from the Magandang Balita Biblia collection for all readers. (This is not absolutely necessary, but it will give consistency and fluidity to the reading)
  • If your assembly is large enough, divide it up into small groups and let one person read to the others in the group. You can even pass the single reading around so that everyone gets an opportunity to read.
  • If your Church or group is too small to do the entire Bible you can choose to read only the New Testament with 86 readers.
  • If you want to read the entire Bible but your group is too small, then read for 30 minutes and give two readings to each person. It takes 188 people to read the entire Bible in 30 minutes.

You can choose to read for an entire hour by giving four readings to a person. It takes 94 people to read the entire Bible in one hour.


Basic Outline

PRAY:

Before you plan, have your Prayer Coordinator schedule a meeting of all involved and earnestly pray for the Lord to guide in all the preparations. Seek His blessings on all who participate and on the entire Bible Reading Marathon.

 

WHY:

Because God has esteemed His Word even above all His Name [Psalms 138:2]. To publicly honor the Lord and unite the community by openly proclaiming the only inspired Guide to prepare us to fulfill His Will. A Marathonis an act of worship. Holding a Bible Reading Marathon to precede the National Day of Prayer (May 7, 2010) has been very successful.

Or, as an alternative, you could hold a Marathon:

  • at the dedication of a new church building.
  • at a Christian school by students with parental and faculty support.
  • as a commitment to the Word of God by an organization and its supporters.
  • at a family reunion as a dedication of the family to God and His Word.
  • to celebrate the close of this year or the beginning of the nest one.
  • or simply as a way to lift up the Word of God in your community.

WHEN:

A specific date must be chosen well in advance. Keep in mind that the site location and the cooperation of community groups, officials, churches, and individuals will take several weeks to organize.

WHERE:

Choose a specific place. Select your site early, perhaps a year in advance. The i-Proclaim! Marathon is a public reading to call attention to the importance of reading through your Bible. Your site should be a public and visible location. A Bible Reading Marathon has been conducted on the steps of our nation's capitol in Washington DCevery year since 1990. Marathons have been conducted on the steps of state capitols, county courthouses, school campuses, city parks, and churches.

WHO:

Everyone! Any person can participate in the reading.  “So also will be the word that I speak---it will not fail to do what I plan for it; it will do everything I send it to do.”   [Isaiah 55:11-GNT].

 

HOW:

A permit must be obtained. Keep in mind that the reading of the whole Bible will take 80 to 90 hours. In this day of fast service and instant gratification, instead of having a schedule of one person reading at a time and taking several days, we may be prone to have everyone read at the same time. We feel that this is a disservice to God. What a pity for God to only get 15 minutes of our time. Be sure to also allow time for set up, opening and closing ceremonies, dismantling, and clean up. First it will be necessary to detail all of the components that you choose to use, as this may affect the type of permit you will need. In applying for a permit, be sure to include every possibility, as it is often difficult to add anything to the permit request once it is secured. A Bible Reading Marathon cannot be prohibited as long as it meets the same criteria as other public functions. Try to stay within the basic guidelines given in this outline, as it will help you obtain your permit much more expediently. Once you get the permit, make copies and give them to the On-site Assistant Coordinator who will be in charge of the Marathonlocation.

COMPONENTS:

In considering the logistics, here is a list that may help you prepare. The Marathon Coordinator should work with the On-site Assistant Coordinator to provide for these needs.

 

Items to consider:

  • PA System -- Your system should be one that has sufficient volume and quality if you are having your i-Proclaim! Bible Reading outside. The entire PA system, including the microphones, must be carefully tested and finely tuned ahead of time.
  • Lighting System -- Should be adequate for night reading. Having good lighting is also a safety measure. Include spare light bulbs.
  • Electrical Outlets -- Make sure there are enough outlets for speakers, lighting, etc. Also check that your location has ample wattage available to plug in all necessary equipment. Be sure all outlets are protected from the elements.
  • Platform or Stand for Readers -- Also provide an extra stool or platform for small readers, especially if you have children involved. A platform is a good place to display your banner and any other type of decorations you may want.
  • Podium -- If possible, set up two lecterns [one for the current reader; the other for the next reader] to avoid delays. Each lectern should have a good microphone attached to it.
  • Bible -- Have large or giant print Bibles available for easier reading, but encourage readers to bring their own personal Bibles. Some i-Proclaim! Marathons have had readers read their own Bibles in different languages, which can be an encouragement to illustrate that the Word of God is being proclaimed and is applicable and relevant in every language.
    If your Marathon is being conducted in a multinational area, you may wish to provide Bibles in various languages.
  • Banner or identifying sign -- A waterproof banner is best. You may choose your own wording: " i-Proclaim!: Celebrate the National Bible Week 2010" or "Read the Bible -- the Manual to Life" or "Read the Bible - It Is God's Transforming Word."
  • Seating -- You will want chairs for those who are participating and for groups waiting to read, as well as sufficient chairs for spectators.
  • Umbrellas, water jugs, cups, etc. -- Have these items all located in one spot, off to the side and out of the way. Oversize umbrellas are a great help in rainy conditions!
  • Large plastic bags -- Have several on hand that are large enough to cover sound equipment if it should rain. You will also need a few trash bags during and after the Marathon. We represent Christ and need to leave the reading area cleaner than when we began.
  • Small emergency kit -- Keep a first aid kit handy, just in case of minor accidents.
  • Camera, video, etc. -- You may need to obtain a special permit if you plan to use photographers or video cameras. Check out well in advance. We would greatly appreciate it if you would send us photos from yourMarathon so that we can make them a part of the history of the National Bible Week Celebration.
  • Telephone -- It is wise to have a cellular phone available for security purposes as well as for Coordinators and media people.
  • Refreshments -- Providing refreshments for readers is a nice touch of hospitality. A caterer or restaurant might be willing to contribute this free of charge.

Be sure to publicly acknowledge those businesses and/or organizations who help supply equipment, refreshments, and other items for the i-Proclaim! Marathon.

Frequently Asked Questions

i-Proclaim! : A Continuous Oral Reading of God’s Word

 What is the Reading Format?

 

 Reading is to be verbal, out-loud. 


Set the coverage of the reading: the whole Bible, New Testament, Gospels, Psalms, etc. Whatever is agreed upon, everyone present at the end of the Bible Proclamation usually read the last chapter together in unison.

No single person reads on and on. The goal is to have as many different people read as possible. When there is a large number of people wanting to read, a reader may read only a few verses. However, during the early morning hours when there may be fewer people around, the readers might take on several chapters.

A Bible proclamation is not a contest to see how fast or how long one person can read. The readings must be clear and understandable and encourage meditation and reflection.

There must be no preaching or comments on passages. Every participant must abide by this rule, no exemption on rank, popularity or status of reader.

 

How long does it take to read?(plain reading, no musical numbers)

New Testament 20-23 hours
Whole Bible about 72 hours


Shorter Readings

It is also possible to do only part reading or just specific books of the Bible i.e. Romans, Psalms, and John.

 

Where can you read?

Public plaza/park
Parking lots

Churches
Shopping Mall

 

Who may join a Bible Proclamation?

Churches from different confessions and denominations—are encouraged to join in the reading. Ecumenism is the key.

 

Individuals, groups and organizations interested in glorifying God through a public reading of God's Word.

The purpose is to turn our focus to the Lord Jesus alone and to honor God’s Word. No campaigning, grandstanding or fundraising may be conducted other than to support the production and distribution of Bibles under the May They Be One Bible Campaign.


What happens at the reading besides reading?

People sit and listen – not fellowship while reading is ongoing
Bible distributions
Witnessing
Visiting
Eating –churches usually contribute to provide food and drinks for the readers

Some sleeping in the early morning hours


Sign-up Bible

At each reading the reader signs the "sign-up Bible" next to the passage(s) they read. This Bible will be presented to the local official or church where the reading took place as a token.

 

 

Tips

 

A  Bible Proclamation can be simple or complex depending on your goal and intention. You will need to consider the following general areas:

  • Planning
  • Preparation
  • Set-up
  • The reading proper
  • Follow-up on those who participated


Questions to help you focus

  • Will you read the New Testament or whole Bible?
  • Will reading be in a non-church, public setting?
  • How wide of participation by churches?
  • How many and which local churches will you have participate?
  • Do you need permission/authorization to read?
  • Are permits needed?
  • Can security for the readers be arranged? (Many young people will want to stay the whole time.)
  • Do you want to distribute Bible?
  • How many chairs? Tables? Restrooms? Lighting?
  • Who will set-up? Dismantle and clean up?
  • What if it rains?
  • Contact media for advertisement?
  • Is funding needed for supplies, security personnel, lighting...
  • How will you schedule people or groups to be responsible to supervising the reading?
  • What translation will you use?
  • Will any one in governmental and/or civic organization participate?
  • Will you need a mic and public address system?
  • Are you planning too big? Too small?
  • Most importantly, will this public reading of God's Word bring Glory and Honor to God?
  • While public reading of the Bible is serious WORK, it should also be fun, enjoyable and memorable.  The participants must leave with a feeling of having personally experienced the Word and desire for further personal engagement with the Scriptures.


Some Trivia


The first recorded event of this type is described in the Old Testament (Tanach) Book of Nehemiah (chapters 8 and 9). The priest Ezra assembled the returning exiled Israelites to stand in the center of the city (Jerusalem) to hear the reading of the Torah (Five Books of Moses).


President George H. Bush signed a proclamation declaring 1990 to be the International Year of Bible Reading. The nineties soon became the “Decade of Bible Reading” and world-wide Marathons were launched. Bible reading marathons have been conducted on the steps of the Washington D. C. National Capitol, state capitols and county courthouses, school campuses, and city parks among other places. 

 

In Canada, The Canadian Bible Society has been conducting Bible Proclamations all over the country since 1995. At that time, 200 readers came together to read the Holy Scriptures in 12 different languages. It has grown since and in 2001, more than 60 communities coast to coast had participated.

 

In Rome in 2008, a Bible Reading marathon was conducted at Santa Croce in Gerusalemme Church. The one week nonstop reading of the Bible interspersed with religious music was led by the Pope himself, reading from theVatican. Readers including Roberto Benigni, known for his movie Life is Beautifu, and other Italian celebrities totaled about 1200 – both Catholics and people of other faiths. They read through all the 73 books of the Catholic Bible.