To you dear co-disciples and apostles immersed in Word of God in various capacities, warm greetings from the Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate of the Philippines. This greeting comes after all the greetings that you received during the Christmas season and the New Year. This is done on purpose to allow you to answer them all that no one may feel abandoned. For Christmas is about caring, loving, listening, compassioning, including, making peace, all in one. I hope that all our year-end experiences led us closer to the Incarnate Word through Mary our Mother.
After 2017 another year is gaping before us with a smile.
A smile can mean many things. What is the meaning of the smile of 2018 for you? Mine has two meanings: one is a smile of gratitude to the Trinitarian God for everything we received during the past year (and previous years as well) and second, to all of you for your active participation in the furtherance, study, deepening and appreciation of the Word of God. Your involvement, no matter how simple is highly appreciated by your recipients and co-workers and of course by your leaders: Pope Francis, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, our general secretary, Fr. Jan Stefanow, SVD and all our bishops in the Bible Apostolate. The second meaning of the smile of 2018 for me is that of Hope. Together we tread on with hope and trust in a loving and compassionate God doing what we are supposed to do as lovers of the Incarnate Word. Notwithstanding natural and human calamities we try to make a difference with our positive attitudes, our generous contributions in various forms (time, talent, treasure), our openness to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, doing what is expected of us as disciples and apostles of Jesus. I invite you to be like Mary, our model who said her unconditional Fiat and lived it to the end. When there are things we cannot unravel, decipher, decide on, let us be like Joseph. We pray and sleep over it trusting that when we wake up there might be answers from up above. When we feel stressed, let us go for desserts of our choice for that is the opposite of stressed spelled backwards. Let us all welcome 2018 Bible Apostolate with smiles. Happy celebration of Epiphany everyone!!!
The Marbel fever is still on for many participants in
the recently held National Bible Workshop. It was the 21st with lots
of memories and sharing of experiences among parishes, dioceses and regions.
With the use of the Appreciative Inquiry method facilitated by Bp Rene Mayugba,
the IPD team headed by Mr. Augusto Arguelles and the trainees in the September
11, 2015 workshop, we were able to identify our dreams and courses of action for
this year and the years to come as we look forward to 2021, the celebration of
500 years of Christianity in the Philippines. A team was designated to spell
out specific courses of action and methodologies relevant to the statement made
after the workshop. The team will meet on Easter Wednesday after which the
template agreed upon will be disseminated to you for reflection, action and
integration in your respective places of
mission. A highlight in the video message of His Eminence Luis Antonio
Cardinal Tagle is the challenge to work along with other commissions to inspire
everyone with the Word of God.
Answering this challenge, the diocese of Pagadian held its First Gagmay ng Simbahanong Katilingban (GSK) or BEC Congress at the St. Michael Parish in Mahayag, Zambooanga del Sur on March 5-6, 2016 with 765 participants. They started with a parade of Bible verses around the town as early as 7:30 in the morning, followed by the Bible Enthronement. The theme “The Word of God and the Eucharist Strengthens the GSK” was elaborated through a three-hour lecture by the executive secretary of ECBA. The afternoon session was a delightful one by Bro. Noe Dora who spoke the language of the people. He narrated his struggles in searching for the truth which finally led him to the Catholic faith. Although a former pastor he now embraces Catholicism and goes around to announce his discovery and conviction. His tales of woe related to his conversion moved many to tears but ended with smiles as he spiced his talk with anecdotes. He is the head minister of pastors converted to Catholicism and has expressed his desire and that of his group to be affiliated with ECBA.
It was amazing to observe the enthusiasm and commitment of the participants who came from different parishes some of whom stayed overnight for the celebration of the Eucharist and the open forum the next day. The church was not enough to contain all participants for like the loaves of bread and fish, there was a multiplication of people in attendance the following day.
Congratulations to their lay woman organizer Mrs. Remy Artiaga, the parish priest Rev. Fr. Ramonito Hilot and his assistant, Fr. Fred and of course to the diocesan coordinator, Rev. Fr. Salvador Banga and their diocesan lay coordinator, Mr. Pablo “Bong” Siasico and his very supportive wife Flor. Congratulations likewise to all participants for their attendance and participation.
The Spirit is moving in surprising and dumbfounding ways. Praise the Lord !