CBF-SEA BA Link 2008 No. 31

CBF-SEA BA Link 2008 No. 31

October 28, 2008

My dear Friends in the Word,

Let us give thanks to God with a grateful heart for giving us a very precious gift in Fr. Doms Ramos, our dear CBF-SEA Webmaster and friend who celebrated his 25th Sacerdotal Anniversary last October 22, 2008.

Congratulations, Doms, ad multos annos in the service of the Word.

FR. DOMS O. RAMOS,SVD

FR. DOMS O. RAMOS, SVD

We are late, yes, but not too late, for we are still in the octave of this joyful event.Thank you for your big heart and big smile, for your readiness to serve everybody at any time. Whoever comes to you with any technical or spiritual problem knows that he or she can count on you. Our good Lord showers his blessings upon you today and every day of your life!

Fr. Doms Ramos SVD: frdomsramos@yahoo.com

Last September 27th Fr. Wim Wijtten SVD, our former CBF-SEA coordinator celebrated his 75th birthday in Leuven. He is still

Fr. Wim Wijtten, SVD

FR. WIM WIJTTEN, SVD

walking with us, reads every Link with great interest and never forgets to respond, to give encouragement and to share his life experiences.

Congratulations dear Fr. Wim. May our Good Shepherd keep you in his loving care, in good health, and many more years to care for His sheep.

Fr. Wim Wijtten SVD: wwijtten@yahoo.com

Our website https://cbfsea.wordpress.com

In the Word,

Sr. Emma Gunanto, osu

Our Prayer

Keep Fr. Doms & Fr. Wim, we pray dearest Lord

Keep them, for they are Yours

Your priests whose lives burn out before

Your sacred shrine

Keep them for they are in this world

Though from the world apart

When earthly pleasures tempt, allure,

Shelter them in Your heart

Keep them, and comfort them in hours

Of loneliness and pain,

When all their lives of sacrifice

For souls seem but in vain.

Keep them, and O remember Lord

They have no one but You

Yet they have only human hearts

With human frailty.

Keep them as spotless as the Host

That daily they caress

Their every thought, and word, and deed,

Deign, dearest Lord, to bless. Amen

From: The Director and staff

John Paul I Biblical Center

==============================================

Dear Fr. Doms,

We have just received the good news of your Silver jubilee. In the name of the whole team here in the General Secretariat I forward our heartful congratulations and best wishes to you. May the Almighty God bless you with his everlasting love and may He grant you his grace and blessing. Thanks so much for all your efforts for the CBF and the biblical pastoral ministry.

Ad multos annos!

Yours in Christ

Claudio

CBF General Secretariat

Germany

CBF-SEA BA Link 2008 No. 30

CBF-SEA BA Link 2008 No. 30

Oct 27, 2008

My dear Friends in the Word,

the Synod on “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.” has come to an end. Here is the summary of the Final Message. You can access the complete text from www.zenit.org/article-24043?l=english


Summary of Final Synod Message

“Grow and Deepen Your Knowledge and Love for the Word”

 

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 24, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is a summary of the concluding message of the 12th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. The final message was approved today at the 21st general congregation.

The theme of the assembly was “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.”

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

“With all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord as well as ours. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 1:2-3). With the Apostle Paul’s greeting – in this year dedicated to him – we, the Synodal Fathers gathered in Rome for the XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, with the Holy Father Benedict XVI, address to you a message full of reflection and proposals on the Word of God that has been the center of our assembly’s work.

It is a message that is entrusted to our pastors in the first place, to the many, generous catechists and to all those who guide you in a loving listening and reading of the Bible. Now, to you, we would like to outline the soul and the substance of this text, so that it may grow and deepen your knowledge and love for the Word of God. There are four cardinal points on the horizon that we invite you to know and that we will express through just as many images.

First of all there is the divine Voice. It echoes in the beginnings of Creation, breaking the silence of nothingness and giving origin to the marvels of the universe. It is a Voice that penetrates in history, wounded by human sin and distressed by suffering and death. It also sees the Lord walking with humanity to offer His grace, His Covenant, His salvation. It is a Voice that enters into the pages of the Holy Scriptures, which we read today in the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, who was given as the light of truth to it and to its pastors.

Also, as Saint John wrote, “The Word became flesh” (1:14). Here then the Face appears. It is Jesus Christ, who is the Son of the eternal and infinite God, but also the mortal man, tied to an historical era, to a people and to a land. He lives the exhausting existence of humanity till His death, but rises glorious and lives forever. He makes our encounter with the Word of God perfect. He unveils to us “the full meaning” and unity of the Holy Scriptures, therefore Christianity is a religion that has a person at its center, Jesus Christ, the One who reveals the Father. He makes us understand that the Scriptures are “flesh”, that is to say human words to be understood and studied in their way of expressing, but that also preserve the light of divine ! truth within, which we can only live and contemplate with the Holy Spirit.

It is the same Spirit of God that leads us to the third cardinal point in our itinerary, the Home of the divine word, that is to say the Church, which, as Saint Luke suggested (Ac 2:42), is supported by four ideal columns. There is “teaching”, which is reading and understanding the Bible in the announcement made to all, in catechesis, in the homily, through a proclamation that involves mind and heart. Then there is “the breaking of the bread”, which is the Eucharist, the source and the summit of the life and the mission of the Church. Like what happened that day at Emmaus, the faithful are invited to nourish themselves in the liturgy of the table of the Word of God and Body of Christ. A third column is “prayer” with “psalms and hymns and inspired songs to God” ( Col 3:16). It is the Liturgy of the Hours, the Church’s prayer destined to give rhythm to the days and times of the Christian year. There is also the Lectio divina, the prayerful reading of the Holy Scriptures able to lead, in meditation, in prayer, in contemplation, to the encounter with Christ, the living Word of God. And, finally, there is “brotherly communion” because to be true Christians it will not suffice being “those who hear the word of God” but also those who “put it into practice” (Lk 8:21) through love’s labors. In the home of the Word of God we also can meet the brothers and sisters from other Churches and Christian communities who, even in division, live a real unity, if not a full one, through the worship and love for the divine Word.

Thus we reach the last image of the spiritual map. It is the road the Word of God walks upon: Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations […] and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you…what you hear in whispers, proclaim from the housetops” (Mt 28:19-20; 10:27). The Word of God must run through the world’s streets which today are also those of computer, television and virtual communication. The Bible must enter into families so that parents and children read it, pray with it and that it may be their lamp for the steps on the way to existence (cf. Ps 119:105). The Holy Scriptures must also enter into the schools and in the cultural areas because for centuries they were the main reference for art, literature, music, thinking and the same common moral. Their symbolic, poetic and narrative richness makes them a banner of beauty for faith as well as for culture, in a world often scarred by ugliness and lowliness.

However, the Bible also shows us the breath of pain that rises from the earth, goes towards the cry from the oppressed and the laments of the miserable. At the summit it has the cross where Christ, alone and abandoned, lives the tragedy of the most atrocious suffering and death. Because of this presence of the Son of God, the darkness of evil and death is irradiated by the Paschal light and by the hope of glory. But on the roads of the world, the brothers and sisters of other Churches and Christian communities walk with us also, even while divided, live a real unity if not a full one, through the worship and love for the Word of God. Along the paths of the world we often meet men and women of other religions that listen and faithfully practice the commands of their holy books and who, with us, can build a world of peace and light, because God “wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4).

Dear brothers and sisters, guard the Bible in your houses, fully read, study and understand its pages, transform them into prayer and witness of life, listen to it with love and faith in the liturgy. Create the silence to effectively hear the Word of the Lord and hold a silence after the listening, because it will continue to! dwell, live and speak to you. Make it resound at the beginning of your day so that God will have the first word and let it echo in you in the evenings so that the last word will be God’s.

“And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace” (Ac 20:32). With the same expression used by Saint Paul in his farewell speech to the heads of the Church in Ephesus , also the Synodal Fathers entrust the faithful of the communities dispersed throughout the world to the divine word, which is also judgment but above all grace, which cuts like a sword but is sweet as a honeycomb. It is powerful and glorious and guides us on the roads of history with Jesus’ hand, who you like us love with an imperishable love (cf. Eph 6:24).

[Original text: Italian]

May our love for the Word grow deeper and deeper and make us effective instruments in the hands of God to renew the face of the earth!

In the Lord,

yours Sr. Emma Gunanto, osu.

 

CBF-SEA BA Link 2008 No.29

CBF-SEA BA Link 2008 No.29

October 22, 2008

My dear Friends in the Word, the Synod has brought together a great number of  bishops from the entire world around the WORD ALIVE.

Let us take this opportunity to know each other better as CBF-SEA members committed to the biblical ministry. For that purpose I send you two interventions from Vietnam and one from Thailand :

 

H.E. Most. Rev. Joseph VÕ ĐÚC MINH, Bishop Coadjutor of Nha Trang VIETNAM )

The Church of Christ in Vietnam , after receiving the Gospel in 1533 and especially after the nomination of the first bishops in 1659, has led a life full of crosses. Through the high and low points of itshistory, like the Jews at the time of their exile, the Vietnamese Catholics understood that only the Word of God remains and never deceives. This Word, which fills prayers, the Way of the Cross and the Angelus, the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary to be meditated on, the hymns, the chanting of Biblical themes, the catechism lessons, popular
worship, para-liturgies, the evenings of prayer in lectio divina, etc., has become a source of comfort and strength that gives a sense of security to all the members of the People of God, and at the same time, the focal point that helps them to discover their future.

The Word of God helps discover the true figure of Jesus Christ, who incarnates the saving love of God, through the mystery of the Cross. Because of the painful experience lived by the Church of Christ in Vietnam, the Mystery of the Cross has become not only close to daily life, but also an essential element that reunites the people of God. Inheriting the millenary culture of the “cult of ancestors”, which expresses the filial piety of our people, the Christians, in celebrating the anniversary of the death of a family member, is inspired by the Last Supper, the Passion, the Death and the Resurrection of Our Lord, whose example always touches upon the Vietnamese soul. The stories about the trials experienced by the Patriarchs and prophets, in particular “saint” Job in the Old Testament, and by the Holy Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph and the apostles of the New Testament continue to support the faith of the Catholics.

http://www.zenit.org/article-23898?l=english
Permalink: http://www.zenit.org/article-23898?l=english
Synod Interventions of 10th General Congregation

H.E. Most. Rev. Joseph NGUYÊN CHI LINH, Bishop of Thanh Hóa ( VIETNAM )


Last Friday, my dear Vietnamese brother, His Excellency Joseph Vo Duc Minh, gave a summarized history of the evangelization of our people. I would like to continue his report by referring to number 28 of the Instrumentum laboris, beginning with the support role of the Word of God in the history of the Church, to show how this role was achieved in the life of the Church in Vietnam .

The Gospel was proclaimed for the first time on our land at the beginning of the 16th century in the painful context of an internal war between two kingdoms ruled by brothers who were enemies. Marvelously, thanks to this coincidence, it became of great comfort for the first baptized persons and ever since, it has not ceased being the moral and spiritual support, the principle for enrichment for the Church in Vietnam, one of the most suffering ones due to bloody and consecutive persecutions. Embarking on this history, woven by hatred, ideological wars and discriminatory restrictions, our Christians are more and more convinced that only the Word of God can keep them in love, joy, peace, communion and tolerance.

It is painful for me to tell you that Vietnam , until now, is in first place concerning abortions. However, this catastrophe, paradoxically, inspired the “Pro Vita” movement among Catholics, mainly consisting in looking for the aborted babies in the hospitals, baptizing them if there is any sign of life, creating cemeteries to bury them. At the beginning, these actions were accused by the civil authorities and the hospital management as crimes, obliging the Catholics to act clandestinely. Now, it is still not authorized, but it is at least tolerated. Some film makers even made documentaries about this and reporters praise these efforts in the media. Why this progress?
Answer: we better recognize the witness of the Christians, those that live the Word of God and under the light of this Word, one respects life. I would like to repeat this certitude, mentioned in Gaudium et Spes, number 44: “Indeed, the Church admits that she has greatly profited and still profits from the antagonism of those who oppose or who persecute her”.

Another sign worthy of being mentioned to show that the Word of God continues to support the Church in Vietnam . This would be the mass conversion of the thousands of persons of the ethnic minorities shortly after the canonization of the 117 Martyrs of Vietnam in 1988. What is curious about this is that many admitted to listening to the Protestant Radio in Manila , in the Philippines , but converted to Catholicism in Vietnam . Thus, the Protestants sow the seed and the Catholics harvest. The Word of God echoing from afar, reaching their ears, has become the source of hope for these persons lost in the mountains, deprived of all and without a future.

In conclusion, I would like, as a Vietnamese Christian, to repeat the certitude that in persecutions, our greatest grace is faithfulness to the Word of God.

http://www.zenit.org/article-23925?l=english
Permalink: http://www.zenit.org/article-23925?l=english
Synod Interventions of 14th General Congregation

H.E. Most. Rev. Joseph Prathan SRIDARUNSIL, S.D.B., Bishop of Surat Thani (THAILAND)

The Catholic Church in Thailand lives its life. in Christ, through the Eucharist and Scripture.
And so the Church has a life-giving mission to be a shining light of Faith and Hope in Thai society. The Thai Church as a small group amidst other faiths and religions is deeply aware of our role of being leaven in the dough in Thai society.

We realize that the Word of God has to affect our lives through study, meditation, prayer, and we have to put the Word of God into practice. The Thai Church has decided to promote the Word of God in its life and mission in the following ways:

1. The disposition of listening to the Word is extremely important. Basic Ecclesial Communities in Thai Church use the Word of God as the core of their existence which includes lectio divina.

2. The Church in Thailand stresses the importance of Biblical studies in our seminaries, houses of religious formation, and in the formation of the laity, and helps them to know and love the Word of God, and live it and thus to share their experiences of the Word with others.

3. The Church in Thailand fully desires the Word of God to be at the heart of all catechetics and thus to lay a solid foundation of faith and Christian maturity of Christians for their mission of witness in Thai society.

4. The Thai Church using modern technology in its efforts to fulfill the three goals mentioned above will try to communicate the Word of God as the way, the truth and the life for all the faithful and people of other faiths, with emphasis on the Word as the Good News to the poor (Lk 4: 18).

In the Lord,

yours Sr. Emma Gunanto, osu.

 

CBF-SEA BA Link 2008 No.28

CBF-SEA BA Link 2008 No.28

October 20, 2008

My dear Friends in the Word, here is a beautiful contribution of the Synod for us, ministers of the Word.  You can have the full text from www.zenit.org/article-23981?l=english

SYNOD OF BISHOPS


Patriarch Urges Touching the Word of God

Bartholomew I Explains Use of “Spiritual Senses”

VATICAN CITY , OCT. 17, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Most Christians have heard the Word of God, but have they seen it in art or nature, or realized they were touching it in the Eucharist?

Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople spoke Saturday afternoon at the celebration of vespers in the Sistine Chapel of using one’s “spiritual senses” to perceive the Word of God.

The event, presided over by Benedict XVI and attended by some 400 cardinals, bishops, religious and laypeople, took place within the context of the world Synod of Bishops on the Word of God, which is under way in the Vatican through Oct. 26.

The first patriarch in history to be invited to address a world Synod of Bishops, Bartholomew I noted that his presence was “an important step toward the restoration of our full communion.”

“We regard this as a manifestation of the work of the Holy Spirit leading our Churches to a closer and deeper relationship with each other,” he said.

Sitting with Michelangelo‘s “Final Judgment” behind him, the patriarch discussed the importance of the synod’s theme.

“The Church needs […] to rediscover the Word of God in every generation,” he said, “and make it head with a renewed vigor and persuasion also in our contemporary world, which deep in its heart thirsts for God’s message of peace, hope and charity.”

He continued: “This duty of evangelization would have been, of course, greatly enhanced and strengthened if all Christians were in a position to perform it with one voice and as a fully united Church.

“It is, therefore, most appropriate, that this synod has opened its doors to ecumenical fraternal delegates so that we may all become aware of our common duty of evangelization as well as of the difficulties and problems of its realization in today’s world.”

Scriptural Church

The patriarch, drawing on the Patristic doctrine of the “spiritual senses,” then spoke of three “spiritual ways of perceiving” the Word of God: “listening to God’s Word, beholding God’s Word, and touching God’s Word.”

He reflected first of all “on hearing and speaking the Word of God through the holy Scriptures.”

“The Christian Church is, above all, a scriptural Church,” Bartholomew I said. “Although methods of interpretation may have varied […] Scripture was always received as a living reality and not a dead book.”

“In the context of a living faith,” he added, “Scripture is the living testimony of a lived history about the relationship of a living God with a living people.”

The patriarch said that in this sense that Christians must “provide a unique perspective — beyond the social, political, or economic — on the need to eradicate poverty, to provide balance in a global world, to combat fundamentalism or racism, and to develop religious tolerance in a world of conflict.”

Art and nature

Bartholomew I affirmed that the Word of God can be seen “in nature and above all in the beauty of the icons”: “Nowhere is the invisible rendered more visible than in the beauty of iconography and the wonder of creation.”

“Icons are a visible reminder of our heavenly vocation,” he explained. “They are invitations to rise beyond our trivial concerns and menial reductions of the world. They encourage us to seek the extraordinary in the very ordinary.

“Icons underline the Church’s fundamental mission to recognize that all people and all things are created and called to be ‘good’ and ‘beautiful.'”

Regarding nature, the patriarch affirmed: “All genuine ‘deep ecology‘ is, therefore, inextricably linked with deep theology.”

“Even a stone,” Bartholomew I stated, quoting Basil the Great, “bears the mark of God’s Word. This is true of an ant, a bee and a mosquito, the smallest of creatures. For he spread the wide heavens and laid the immense seas; and He created the tiny hollow shaft of the bee’s sting.”

The patriarch added, “Recalling our minuteness in God’s wide and wonderful creation only underlines our central role in God’s plan for the salvation of the whole world.”

Sacraments and saints

Bartholomew I said that the Word of God, which “receives his full embodiment” in the sacrament of the Eucharist, can be touched and shared “in the communion of saints and the sacramental life of the Church.”

In the Eucharist, he explained, “the Word becomes flesh and allows us not simply to hear or see him, but to touch him with our own hands.”

“Word and sacrament become one reality,” the patriarch added. “The word ceases to be ‘words’ and becomes a Person, embodying in himself all human beings and all creation.”

Bartholomew I said the example of saints is “the tangible experience and human expression of God’s Word in our community.”

“In the gentle presence of a saint,” he explained, “we learn how theology and action coincide. In the compassionate love of the saint, we experience God as ‘our father’ and God’s mercy as ‘steadfastly enduring.'”

“Each of us is called to ‘become like fire,’ to touch the world with the mystical force of God’s Word,” he said, “so that — as the extend! ed Body of Christ — the world, too, might say: ‘Someone touched me!'”

Healing revolution

“Evil,” continued Bartholomew I, “is only eradicated by holiness, not by harshness. And holiness introduces into society a seed that heals and transforms.”

“It is like the tectonic plates of the earth’s crust,” he explained. “The deepest layers need only shift a few millimeters to shatter the world’s surface.

“Yet for this spiritual revolution to occur, we must experience radical ‘metanoia‘ — a conversion of attitudes, habits and practices — for ways that we have misused or abused God’s Word, God’s gifts and God’s creation.”

The patriarch added: “The challenge before us is the discernment of God’s Word in the face of evil, the transfiguration of every last detail and speck of this world in the light of Resurrection.

“The victory is already present in the depths of the Church, whenever we experience the grace of reconciliation and communion.”

— — —

For those who have not yet responded to Star’s letter, we are loooking forward to hear from you! Thanks so much. God bless the Synod Fathers and each of us.

In the Lord,

yours Sr. Emma Gunanto, osu.

CBF-SEA BA Link 2008 No. 27

CBF-SEA BA Link 2008 No. 27

 

 My dear Friends in the Word,

The Synod on the Word of God will continue until Oct. 26. Ten more days to go! For those of us who had no time to browse the internet, I copy two interventions which are of great importance for us in Asia :

 

 

H.E. Most. Rev. Arturo M. BASTES, S.V.D.,

Bishop of Sorsogon ( PHILIPPINES )

1) Biblical courses in the seminary are too intellectual, using the western method of historico-critical exegesis, which bores most seminarians. This academic approach should be complemented with methods that take into account the culture and life situation of the hearers.
2) The members of the Catholic Biblical Federation (found in 129 countries today) have developed techniques in doing biblical pastoral ministry which prove to be effective in transmitting God’s message to contemporary men and women. These creative methodologies must be inc1uded in the official curriculum of the formation programs in theological faculties and houses of formation. An example of such a method appealing to people of today is the “Bibliodrama.”

3) The urgency of developing an Asian way of reading the Bible is felt because of the tremendous challenge the Church is facing in this huge continent where millions of people feel hungry for God’s Word. There are now successful attempts to develop a biblical hermeneutics that take into account the rich culture and history of Asian peoples. There is a plan to produce an Asian Biblical Commentary that will make use of the historico-critical method of the West and a comparative cultural hermeneutics to render the profound spiritual sense of the biblical text accessible to the Asian soul. The Asian members of the CBF have also decided to establish an Asian Bible Institute, which will hopefully give the desired holistic biblical formation program.

4) This is one way of contributing to the “missio ad extra” in Asia , the majority of whose people have not yet heard of Christ. Through a gradual process of evangelization presenting Jesus of the Gospels as Teacher, Story Teller, Healer, Miracle Worker, Friend, Consoler – images that are pleasing to Asians – people of Asia may eventually be led by the Spirit to believe in Christ as the Son of God.

 

H.E. Most. Rev. Ignatius SUHARYO HARDJOATMODJO, Archbishop of Semarang (INDONESIA)

Asia is a continent of many religions and cultures marked by degrading poverty and underdevelopment. This is the context for the Church in Asia to reflect on the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church. FABC has been promoting evangelization always in triple dialogue with the poor,· religions and cultures. Nostra Aetate and other post-conciliar documents, have confirmed the way of dialogue as the characteristic mode of the Church (Ecclesia in Asia, 3).
Lineamenta and Instrumentum Laboris of the Synod mostly refer to Dei Verbum but they need to be complemented by Gaudium et Spes with its call for dialogue with the world. In Asia , proclamation of the Word demands dialogue and inculturation as requirements of the Word Incarnate. The Word of God has to become the Word of life for the poor of Asia.

We have to respond to the structural causes of poverty and marginalization for integral liberation in the light of the Word of God. The beatitudes of the Kingdom, especially concerning the poor in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke have to be proclaimed both for the rich challenging their self-sufficiency and for the poor as source of hope for liberation and life.

Biblical revelation stresses God’s love for the poor, namely the widow, the orphan and the stranger. God always works vindication and justice for the poor (Ps 103:6). Jesus our Lord embodied the divine compassion for the poor in his proclamation of God’s reign. God’s preferential option for the poor is the Word of life for the ignored, humiliated and the deprived. The Church must share the Word of God as the Word of hope and life for the poor of Asia .

 

 

Let us keep praying for the Synod, that it may indeed renew the face of the Church and of the whole earth.

We all have received Star’s letter about the CBF-SEA workshop next year. Please let us know your preferences so that we can concretize our plans.

 

 

 In the Lord,

yours Sr. Emma Gunanto, osu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CBF-SEA BA Link 2008 No.26

THE SYNOD ON THE WORD OF GOD

My dear friends in the Word,

Yesterday was the opening of the long awaited Synod on the Word of God. Let us accompany the Holy Father and the Bishops on this spiritual journey with the Word until Oct. 26. I copy for you a short acticle from Zenith. You can access the full text of the synod from:

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/synod/documents/rc_synod_doc_20080511_instrlabor-xii-assembly_en.html

 

Pontiff: Synod to Tell World That God Is Not Dead

Says Church’s 1st Task Is to Be Nourished by Scripture.

ROME, OCT. 5, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI opened the world Synod of Bishops on the Word of God expressing the hope that it give birth to a new missionary dynamism in the regions of the world where it seems that “God is dead.”

Today the Pope presided over the inaugural Mass of the synod, which will end Oct. 26, at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. The synod’s theme is “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.”

“Nations that at one time were rich with vocations are now losing their identity, under the deleterious and destructive influence of a certain modern culture,” the Holy Father noted in his homily.

“There are those who, having decided that ‘God is dead,’ declare themselves ‘god,’ taking themselves to be the singular artificers of their destiny, the absolute lord of the world,” he continued. “Clearing God away and not awaiting salvation from him, man believes he can do as he pleases and poses himself as the sole measure of himself and his action.

“But when man eliminates God from his horizon, when he declares that God is ‘dead,’ is he truly more happy? Does he truly become free?

“When men proclaim themselves absolute owners of themselves and lords of creation, can they really build a society where freedom, justice and peace reign?”

Division and confusion

Benedict XVI answered the question in the negative, explaining that “the daily news amply shows” that with this vision “the will to power, egoistic interests, injustice and exploitation, violence in all its forms” spread. “The end of all this is that man finds himself alone and society more divided and confused.”

The Pope said that with this synod the Church wants to show the world “that evil and death do not have the last word, but Christ is the victor in the end. Always!”

“The Church never tires of proclaiming these glad tidings, as she does today in this basilica dedicated to the Apostle of the Gentiles, the one who first spread the Gospel in vast regions of Asia Minor and Europe ,” he said.

To accomplish this mission, the Pontiff added, the Church’s “primary and fundamental” mission is to nourish herself on the Word of God. “In fact, if the proclamation of the Gospel constitutes her reason for being and her mission, it is indispensable that the Church know and live that which she proclaims so that her preaching is credible, despite the weaknesses and poverty of the human beings who constitute her.”

Citing St. Jerome , he added: “Whoever does not know the Scriptures does not know the power of God nor his wisdom. Ignoring the Scriptures means ignoring Christ.”

The synod’s work will begin on Monday with a meditation offered by Benedict XVI.

The 6th Southeast Asian Workshop

We announce the good news that our next SEA Workshop will be held at Baan Phu Waan Pastoral Center in Bangkok . The time has been set between 11 and 25 September 2009. We will give you the details as soon as possible. Please put it in your agenda for next year.

Change of email address:

The Institute for Pastoral Development of the Philippines , one of our SEA members,  has a new email address.  Effective October 2008, they will be using: empower@i-pastoraldev.com and www.i-pastoraldev.com

 

May the Synod on the Word of God give new vitality to our ministry and new life to our dying world.

 

In the Lord, yours Sr. Emma Gunanto, osu.