From the Desk of the Executive Secretary (Updates)- April 14, 2014
After the Palawan fever we are back to work in our respective fields to continue the task and mission of evangelization. It is encouraging to see that several dioceses are busy with seminars and recollections for their respective lay leaders and volunteer catechists in this Year of the Laity. The lay leaders of Fr. Iluminado Rojo invited me for Lenten recollections in two separate parishes (Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Talairon in Oroquieta City and St. Matthew Parish, Oloran, Misamis Occidental. I was impressed with the response of the people expressed through their “church full” attendance and attentive listening. They stayed on until the end of each day which made our song “Thank You Lord” very meaningful. No one seemed to be tired after listening to our Lord in Mt. 11:28 “ Come to me all of you who are heavy burdened and I will give you rest….” “Deny yourself, carry your cross and follow me..”
The head catechist of Zamboanga city invited me through Sr. Genevieve Damaso, OND for a seminar-workshop for their volunteer catechists on “How to teach Bible Stories to Children.” The catechists of Basilan will have the same sessions after the Holy Week. The participation of volunteer catechists who have to give up some of their time for their families and other concerns just to attend a training seminar is equally commendable. I salute these fathers and mothers and of course the “singles for the Lord” for their time and unselfish effort which they invest to hone their skills for the new evangelization.
A full blown formation program for the laity is currently in progress in Daet through the inspiring leadership of Bp. Gilbert Garcera. I saw their program when I was requested to give a whole morning’s talk to the lay leaders who came from different parishes of Daet on April 5, 2014. I saw that in spite of the many seminars they attended they were still very attentive and attracted to see the interweaving of life with faith, new evangelization and the Word of God. Of course, the new encyclical of Pope Francis, the Evangelii Gaudium or the Joy of the Gospel aroused their curiosity. I congratulate Bp. Gilbert for sustaining a garden on the Word of God by the grounds of the cathedral. It invites reflection and meditation.
The lay leaders of Baguio City through Ms. Alice Galibut and the Baguio Cathedral parish priest Fr. Emmanuel Banayo patiently waited for a slot in my schedule to have a recollection also for their lay leaders in the various ministries. They had it last April 9, 2014 with about 150 attendees. There were representatives from the youth, the lectors, the BECs, the catechetical ministry, the Knights of Columbus and other mandated and religious organizations. The invitation was open to all so there were those who came on their own. The organizers decorated the stage with the theme of the year of the laity, “Called to be Brave, Called to be Heroes, Called to be Saints”, a timely reminder on Bataan Day.
Congratulations dear bishops and priests for shepherding the laity through various ways and means. Congratulations too to all lay leaders who go out of their way to be co-responsible with the clergy and the whole Church on the New Evangelization.
We pray for our Bible Apostolate regional directors who are currently not so well, Fr. Dondon Aquino and Fr. Iluminado Rojo. May they regain their health to be back in full swing in the vineyard of the Lord. And for those of us who are also suffering, this week is a good opportunity to reflect on the Christian meaning and value of suffering. God bless us all.
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
Organizing Bible Celebration
Promoting Bible Translation
Assisting Bible Production
Coordinating Bible Distribution
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.