10TH NATIONAL WORKSHOP FOR THE BIBLICAL APOSTOLATE
Theme: The Bible at the Heart of Evangelization
Retreat House of the Holy Spirit Sisters
March 6-9, 1995
We encountered one another in a land where the mountains and hills still echo the voice of elders narrating tribal lore. Inspired by the traditional, we narrate our own story, though constrained to do so in a much abbreviated form.
There are 116 of us, a good number of whom are young, who journeyed from various parts of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Our first activity reminded us of the proverbial lamp that “no one lights and puts in some hidden place or under a tub; they put it on a lamp stand so that people may see the light when they come in” (Luke 11:33). Our meeting hall became a room of lighted candles and opened Bibles enthroned in an ethnic setting.
For three days, living together as brothers and sisters bound by the love of the Father, his words and his spirit, we reflected on “THE BIBLE AT THE HEART OF EVANGELIZATION”. What emerged was a greater awareness of the phenomenon that the Word of God is indeed the heart and nourishment of renewed spiritual life in countless communities of faith all over our country where evangelization is in process. However, due to the lack of properly trained Bible teachers, animators and facilitators, and bible study materials suited to different groups – especially lay Catholic organizations, urban and rural families, rich persons, and many others — hardly any evangelization much less renewal is experienced by the majority of more than 60 million people.
Sometimes, at the extreme, there is an overdose of religious enthusiasm bordering on illuminism and stoked by doubt among fully orthodox beliefs and practices, causing much anxiety among clergy and laity alike.
Our surroundings of fragrant pine tress, multicolored flowers and chirping birds reminded us to turn to the Lord to say, “All creation will thank you and your loyal people will praise you” (Psalm 145:10). In this spirit we were able to come up with the following recommendations and commitments.
WE COMMIT OURSELVES TO:
1. continue giving an intensive on-going Biblical formation to Catholic charismatic groups;
2. fostering genuine collaboration among Lay Catholic organization (LCO’s) and the clergy;
3. encouraging LCO’s to be faithful to the diocesan pastoral vision-mission-goal in the spirit of PCP-II.
4. being at the service of LCO’s in their on-going formation through existing Biblical-pastoral programs;
5. respecting and appreciating all disabled persons as effective partners in the proclamation of the good news in their own unique way;
6. recognizing the talents and gifts of the youth as dynamic agents and subjects of renewed integral evangelization;
7. being sensitive and responsive to the needs and aspirations of the youth in their quest for authentic Christian life;
8. journeying with the emerging young professionals in their response to the call of evangelization and in their witnessing to the gospel values within their field of influence and competence.
Jesus said “Go… and make disciples of all nations,” (Mt. 28:19) and we are reminded of the words of his Mother, Woman of Faith, and Star of Evangelization, “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn. 2:5). Obedient to Jesus Christ, therefore, we who are young in age or at heart and in outlook, will go forth from this mountain to make disciples for him, especially the young.
Our Lady, Spouse of the Holy Spirit and Mother of God’s Incarnate Word stood before our eyes in the chapel where we meditated and worshipped God. To her, we entrust our work, to the glory of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
For all the participants,
+CIRILO R. ALMARIO, JR, D.D.
Bishop of Malolos
Chairman, EPISCOPAL COMMISSION for the BIBLICAL APOSTOLATE
March 9, 1995