ON AUGUST 21, 2010

We thank God for the precious gift of Bishop Alberto Ablondi, Third CBF President (1984-1996)

A typical expression of Bishop Alberto Ablondi was “co-workers of the Incarnation of the Word”. He used it often and that highlighted his spirituality which kindled generous and exemplary commitment of his that the Word of God would reach everyone, so that everyone might share in the Mystery of the Incarnation. His commitment was of three dimensions and it was always strong like the source of the Gospel. The first dimension was his love for “the Bible among pastors,” that is, among the clergy of his Diocese of Livorno and of Italy , also among his fellow bishops, not so much as an exegete, but rather demonstrating the power of the Word of God through the new evangelization. The second dimension was for “the Bible among the people” according to the instruction of Dei Verbum: “It is necessary that the faithful have broad access to Sacred Scripture” (DV 22). The third and perhaps the greatest contribution of Bishop Ablondi was his setting forth “the Word of God among Christians” as the basic and momentous point of departure for the ecumenical walk among divided Christians. In a broad sense he built a bridge for dialogue with our Jewish friends and further with the great religions.

We, as co-servants of the Word, are very grateful for Bishop Ablondi’s tremendous contributions as the Third CBF President, having inspired and guided the Federation for 12 years (1984-1996). His farewell address made in 1996 brought back many beautiful memories: “I have called to mind only a few instances of my personal experience in the Federation. Though, I must say that these last twelve years have been a gift from God for me: because of the many friends I met, because of so many experiences I lived, because of so many acquaintances who enriched me. However, for me as a Christian, as a priest, and as a bishop, the life of the Federation in particular has been an uplifting motive of growth of love for the Word, a growth of the Word itself, and a growth of love through the Word.”

During the CBF V Plenary Assembly held in Hong Kong in 1996, Bishop Ablondi particularly highlighted the importance of our obedience to the Spirit and the need for prayer as a component of the life of our Federation. We need the Spirit’s help, so that when we face the Word he might teach us “all the truth,” carrying us with an open mind towards mystery. On the other hand, the Spirit makes us understand as well as assume the Word of God into our own words. We, then, become a nearly sacramental expression because the Spirit turns us into the “Word of God”.

Bishop Ablondi’s smiles, love, spirit and friendship will always remain in our hearts. Praise God for this great pastor of the Word and may his soul rest in peace and legacy live in all of us.

Dear Bishop Ablondi, pray for our biblical pastoral ministry and the birth of a New CBF!