Christmas Blessings and Greetings!

Christmas Greetings!

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‘Christmas is a day to open the heart:

it is necessary to open one’s heart to so much littleness,

which is there in that Baby,

and to so much wonder. It is the wonder of Christmas’

Pope Francis

 

Dearest CBF-SEA friends,

I wish you a wonderful and grace-filled Christmas

and a happy, blessed and peaceful New Year

        (January 1st – December 31st)

May our Lord shower his love and mercy

on our wounded world,

and make us instruments of his Peace.

 

See you in Vietnam!

Your companion on the way,

Sr. Emmanuel Gunanto, osu

A Christmas Letter 2016

cbf-logoCatholic Biblical Federation

Sankt Ottilien, Christmas 2016

 cbf-manger…for a son has been born for us, a son has been given to us, and dominion has been laid on his shoulders; and this is the name he has been given, ‘Wonder-Counsellor, Mighty-God, Eternal-Father, Prince-of-Peace (Is 9:5)

 

 

 

Dear Members, Friends and Benefactors of the Catholic Biblical Federation,

One more year, we are preparing to celebrate the presence of God in our world – a presence wrapped and represented these days in the tender setting of lights and Christmas decorations.

But we are also preparing to celebrate Christmas in a context of an accumulation of human conflicts, wars and tragedies greater than in the entire history of humanity. The whole of humanity seems to be crying out louder than ever before, “Where is your God?” (Ps. 42: 3). And, in fact, with greater obstinacy than ever, many are devoting themselves to denying the existence of God, to ridiculing faith in Him and even to persecuting those who confess it.

And we, once again, present to the world a poor child born in a stable, amid animals, as the son of an immigrant couple. And we tell the world, “God chose those who by human standards are fools to shame the wise; he chose those who by human standards are weak to shame the strong, those who by human standards are common and contemptible — indeed those who count for nothing — to reduce to nothing all those that do count for something” (1 Cor 1:27-28).

The logic of the world and the logic of God – in these days we see how far apart the one is from the other, how annihilating is one and how liberating is the other. It would seem that the oracle of the Prophet Amos has been fulfilled: “The days are coming- declares the Lord Yahweh- when I shall send a famine on the country, not hunger for food, not thirst for water, but famine for hearing Yahweh’s word. People will stagger from sea to sea, will wander from the north to the east, searching for Yahweh’s word, but will not find it. ” (Am 8:11-12).

But God has not abandoned us, he has not remained silent – he is accompanying us and he is still speaking to us. “Something which has existed since the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our own eyes, which we have watched and touched with our own hands about the Word of life” (1 Jn:1,1) …let us announce this to others more boldly than ever, let us bring them hope, the Word of Life – the Word that became Life and that dwelt, and continues to dwell, among us.

Merry Christmas to all!

Fr. Jan J. Stefanów, SVD

CBF General Secretary

http://www.c-b-f.org

Catholic Biblical Federation

cbf-seastefanow

Dear friends on our Biblical journey together,

Warmest greetings from the General Secretariat of the Catholic Biblical Federation in Sankt Ottilien (Germany)!

As we celebrate the Feast Day of the patron saint of biblical scholars – and I would add of “grass roots biblical scholars” because it was he who “popularized” the Bible, translating  it into Latin, the “vulgar” language of the people – St. Jerome, along with that of his illustrious companions Marcela and Paula, I share with you all via this medium best wishes that we may continue to follow the example of St. Jerome in the dedicated and rigorous listening to the Word that God addresses to us in Scripture and that we go on helping others to discover, listen, taste and live the Word of God.

Within three years, on 16 April 2019, the CBF will celebrate its 50th anniversary. The following year, a day like today, 30 September 2020, we will be commemorating the 1600th anniversary of the death of St. Jerome. For this reason, the General Secretariat and the Executive Committee of the Catholic Biblical Federation have launched a campaign in support of the period between 16 April 2019 and 30 September 2020 to be proclaimed in our Church as the “Year of the Bible”. I invite everyone to join this initiative and help in spreading this idea among your colleagues, parish priests, superiors and bishops of your dioceses. For our part we will be promoting it through the official channels of the Church and other institutions and organizations interested in this initiative.

Let today be the first day of the three years of preparation for the Year of the Bible in our Roman Catholic Church!

 

Fr. Jan J. Stefanow SVD

CBF General Secretary

CBF-SEA Celebrates the Natal Day of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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Hail, Mary, Mother of God, venerable treasure of the whole universe, lamp that is never extinguished, crown of virginity, support of the true faith, indestructible temple, dwelling of him whom no place can contain, O Mother and Virgin! Through you all the holy Gospels call blessed the one whom comes in the name of the Lord.


Hail, Mother of God. You enclosed under your heart the infinite God whom no space can contain. Through you the Most Holy Trinity is adored and glorified, the priceless cross is venerated throughout the universe. Through you the heavens rejoice, and the angels and archangels are filled with gladness. Through you the demons are banished, and the tempter fell from heaven. Through you the fallen human race is admitted to heaven.

Hail, Mother of God. Through you kings rule, and the only-begotten Son of God has become a star of light to those who were sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Amen.

 

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We Rejoice! We have a new St. Teresa!

CLFC-MOTHER TERESA

 

Mother Teresa with Star del Mar and the Missionaries of Charity

 

CBF South East Asia and Cebu Lay Formation Center join the Universal Church in rejoicing for the Canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta on September 4, 2016

MotherMother Teresa, the founder of the Missionaries of Charity, was already known as the “living Saint” even when she was alive.  This is due to her works and words that are summed up in one statement:  total obedience to God’s will by doing what Christ asked each one of us to do.

When she came to Cebu City to visit her Sisters here, we met her at the airport and straight from there, she visited first our Cebu Lay Formation Center (CLFC) in Talamban.  She is a short woman and looks very fragile and yet her mind is sharp and her heart is centered on Jesus Christ.  Her mission is to love and help the poorest of the poor in every way as Christ loves them.

Fr. Willi was very proud to introduce to Mother Teresa our Institute for Lay Spirituality.  Mother Teresa reacted to that.  She said “what lay spirituality?  There is only one spirituality and that is the Christian Spirituality.  There are many religious congregations claiming the spirituality of their founders.  But there is only one spirituality and that is the spirituality of Jesus Christ!” She was so emphatic when she said that.  That is why what she said stayed in my memory.

Mother-5Then I brought her around the building, which at that time, had a veranda all around it.  Fr. Willi was busy entertaining the other Sisters so I had Mother Teresa all to myself walking around the veranda of the CLFC building.  She asked me if the vacant lot next to our property belongs to us.  I told her that it belongs to a rich Doctor.  She said, we should get it since our property is too small for a retreat house. I told her that it is not for sale and we do not have money to buy it anyway.  Then she whispered to my ear how we can at least use it and pray to Mother Mary that the good owner will donate it to us.  I smiled, half believing it will happen.  Fast forward:  the good Doctor allowed us to use it for parking and for retreatants to walk around.  So I opened a big gate to the property.  Only that we could not develop it for our purpose since it is not ours.

Mother Teresa-1Mother Teresa is a kind, generous and loving person but firm in her beliefs and aggressive in her plans with full trust and faith that God will help her in every way.

She said many things and I wanted to record them but I did not have the gadget for it at that time.  I did not have a camera too. Someone took that one group picture at the airport and happy to get a copy of it.

But picture or not, it does not matter.  What matters more is the encounter with someone who speaks the words of Jesus Christ and inspires others to do what Jesus did if only to assure everyone,Mother-6.jpg especially the poor, that God loves each one of them! God loves us so much that we cannot but love others as well.

Mother Teresa did not only preach.  She lived her preaching.  She lived her faith.

Mother Teresa, pray for us, that we find the time and the courage to help the poorest of the poor in our midst!

Star del Mar

Mother-13

Saint Teresa of Calcutta… pray for us… the Catholic Biblical Federation of Southeast Asia!

Easter Greetings 2016!

EASTER FINAL CBF-2016

51st INTERNATIONAL EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS’ STATEMENT 2016

51st INTERNATIONAL EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS’ STATEMENT 2016

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We, the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, gathered to celebrate the 51st International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu City, Philippines (January 24-31, 2016) now relive the beautiful experience of the two disciples of Emmaus.

We are convinced that the Holy Spirit sends us forth in order to proclaim the story of Jesus. This congress is like the gathering of the early disciples when they joyfully shared stories of how each of them encountered the Risen Lord in the Sacred Scripture and in the Breaking of the Bread.

Bread of Hope. The Eucharist, being a living and life-giving encounter with Christ in the totality of his Paschal Mystery, is truly the source of and impetus for hope. Through the Eucharist, we come to feel that we are possessed by the love of God and with this conviction, conversion of the heart begins. When our worship is done through Christ, with him and in him, then the Eucharist becomes source of healing and our hope of glory. The Eucharist is our bread of hope for it challenges us to live thankfully and joyfully, notwithstanding all the difficult realities of life.Only those who have endured a lot or have faced various crises in life, those who suffer almost on a daily basis, can know and possess spiritual resilience and truly celebrate life’s joys and remain hopeful.

Bread for the Poor. The Eucharist commits us to the poor, to love and to come to their help. We are challenged to reach out to the poor and help uplift them materially and spiritually as a concrete way of living out the Eucharist. The Eucharist compels us to act and to give them something to eat. The example of Jesus, particularly the meal stories, teaches us what every Eucharist should be: breaking bread with the poor and the marginalized. The presence of our brothers and sisters who have less in life is a constant reminder that the poor is the privileged place of encounter with Jesus outside the Eucharist.

Bread of Dialogue. The Eucharist which is the sacrament of the bread of life fills our spirits and strengthens our resolve as we take the tortuous path of dialogue with religions, cultures, youth and the poor. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit for mutual understanding, openness and conversion of hearts and minds. The Eucharist – the real presence of Jesus – sustains our hearts and nourishes our souls as we journey towards the convocation where God gathers us all in an inclusive communion, banishing distinctions that alienate and celebrating the gift each one brings.

Bread for Mission. Energized and renewed by the Eucharist, Christ’s missionary disciples are sent into the world to be broken bread for a broken world. They move from Eucharistic celebration to Eucharistic commitment. The Eucharist is not just a gift but also a task and mission that can change the world. Indeed, Eucharist enables us to effectively respond to the cry of the poor, the cry of the earth and the cry of Jesus Christ. Missionary dynamism springs from an encounter with Jesus through deep prayer because the lungs of evangelization is prayer. We are a people on mission; truly, IEC 2016 is a clarion call to mission for all of us. Our Eucharist is the source and goal of the Church’s mission.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Incarnate Word and the Eucharistic Lord, accompany us, missionary disciples, in order to share Jesus Christ is us our hope of glory.

Amen.

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https://www.facebook.com/IEC2016SocialMedia/