23rd National Bible Workshop
23rd National Bible Workshop Statement
How good and how pleasant it is, when brothers dwell together as one! (Ps. 133:1 NAB)
God is good! Siyempre!
All the time! Grabe!
We indeed experience the goodness of God these days of February 4 to 7, 2020, when we, 244 participants from 56 dioceses - bishops, priests, religious sisters and lay people - gather together in Hacienda Gracia Resort and Hotel in Lubao Pampanga for our 23rd National Bible Workshop. In spite of the threat of the spread of the Corona Virus, we are so kindly and generously hosted by the St. Pius X Regional Bible Center and the Archdiocese of San Fernando. The welcome is warm, sumptuous and well-prepared. The theme of our national workshop is THE WORD OF GOD. SANA ALL IN (INDIGENOUS, INTERFAITH, INTER-RELIGIOUS). We reflect over this theme through the keynote address, through the panel discussions, and through the reflections given by our bishops in the Eucharistic celebrations. These reflections are given flesh through the planning sessions done by regional centers. But more than the formal sessions, we value the moments that we have together to meet old friends from the Bible apostolate and make new ones from different parts of the country. The personal friendships forged and the sharing of experiences in this important work of the Church renew our commitment.
We all share the belief that the Bible Apostolate is
not just one of the many apostolates in the Church, because, as Pope Benedict
XVI wrote: “Since ‘ignorance of the
Scriptures is ignorance of Christ,’ making the Bible the inspiration of every
ordinary and extraordinary pastoral outreach will lead to a greater awareness
of the person of Christ, who reveals the Father and is the fullness of divine
revelation.” (Verbum Domini #73) So we commit ourselves to strengthen the
Bible apostolate in all our parishes by persistently
- setting up Bible animators in each parish in the country,
- offering trainings on the Scripture to all, and
- insisting that Bible funds from the mandatory yearly Bible collection be properly used and accounted for.
We commit ourselves to operationalize the regional plans we have made. This year we emphasize ecumenism, inter-religious dialogue and dialogue of cultures with the indigenous peoples. We in the Bible apostolate collaborate with the ministries engaged in these works in our dioceses. What we decide in our regions we will bring down to our dioceses for implementation.
On the national level, we decide to promote UNLAD, which stands for Uniform qualification and Nurture of the Bible ministers, Life-giving Bible Festival, Advance the Word in the digital continent, and Digital platform for sharing. Hence,
- We will ask the bishops of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to formally recognize the Extra-ordinary Ministers of the Word of God which the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II #430) had initiated. Let the Episcopal Commission on the Bible Apostolate (ECBA) propose the nature, the function, and the requirements for qualifying for this ministry. Thus our Bible ministers will have UNIFORM formation and NURTURE of the ministers for their work.
- We will organize in close collaboration with other Christian groups a LIFE-GIVING national Festival of the Bible come January of 2021. It will serve as a fruit of the Year of Ecumenism, the Year of the Bible of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) and the Year of the Word of God of the Catholic Biblical Federation (CBF) that are all celebrated this year 2020. This Festival of the Bible will be a strong witness to the Bible, which is our common treasure as Christians.
- We ADVANCE the Word of God in the digital continent by setting up, maintaining and promoting a digital forum in collaboration with the Social Media Commission of the CBCP and other Church media institutions through which we can spread the joyous message of salvation in the Bible. Its aim is to reach as many people as possible, especially the young, in the spirit of Missio Ad Gentes.
- We ask ECBA to set up this year DIGITAL platforms to coordinate and share all the formation initiatives done in the biblical regional centers in the country. These will also serve as fora for Bible resources and for quick sharing of information among all those who are engaged in the Bible Apostolate.
The call to dialogue and mission with other faiths and other peoples and reaching out to them is not optional for us Christians. It is a mandate given to us who are called to a love that is unbounded (cf. Mt 5:44-48 NJB). We work to continue the mission of Jesus our Good Shepherd who openly proclaimed:
I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one Shepherd. (Jn. 10:14-16 NAB)
Sana all in! May we all be one flock under the one shepherd! Talagang all-in!
Most Rev. Sofronio A. Bancud, SSS, DD
Bishop of Cabanatuan
In the name of the participants