Message: To the Participants at the 6th CBF-SEA Workshop
in Bandung, Indonesia
You are gathered in Bandung for the 6th Catholic Biblical Federation South East Asia Biblical Pastoral Workshop to deepen your understanding of Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, to share your experiences in the biblical inspiration of all pastoral activity (VD 73) and to encourage one another in the common service of the Word.
This long tradition of bringing the “servants of the Word” together to celebrate, to pray and to share, in friendship and joy, is indeed characteristic of the fellowship of the CBF, on the regional and subregional levels, as well as on the world wide level.
We all are indebted to Sr. Emma and her team for their continuing efforts, over the years and once again now in 2012, to network between the various CBF members in South East Asia.
Our thanks go as well to the speakers who have accepted to reflect with upon the Papal Exhortation and the challenges that this document presents to us all for our biblical pastoral ministry.
Verbum Domini is in more than one way the fruit of the commitment of the CBF to the biblical apostolate, to biblical pastoral ministry and to the biblical inspiration of all areas of the life and mission of the Church over the years.
It was after the memorable international biblical pastoral congress held in Rome in 2005, which the CBF together with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity organized to celebrate 40 years of Dei Verbum, that Pope Benedict announced the Bishops’ Synod on the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church. At the end of this Synod in 2008 the Holy Father, in a conversation with the CBF
President Bishop Paglia, spoke of this synod as the synod of the Catholic Biblical Federation. Indeed, not only were the continuing calls for such a synod by CBF organizations, boards and officers instrumental for the convening of the synod, but the biblical pastoral experience and reflections which the CBF has shared with the bishops during the preceding 40 years nourished the discussions on the synod floor with insights, pastoral cares and hopes for the Church and the world.
The attentiveness of the Bishops during the synod to the voices of the Church across the world, to the Word and to the Spirit led to the 55 propositions which Pope Benedict, in a true spirit of ecclesial communion heeded and further elaborated in Verbum Domini. Now the CBF is challenged anew by this document, for indeed Verbum Domini is not the final word on the theological and pastoral reflection on the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church in today’s world; it rather expresses the Holy Father’s fervent desire to open the Church and the world to the sowing of God’s Word, setting free its transforming and healing power Pope Benedict expressed his intention for promulgating Verbum Domini at the very beginning of this document (VD 1):
In this way I wish to point out certain fundamental approaches to a rediscovery of God’s word in the life of the Church as a wellspring [or source] of constant renewal. At the same time I express my hope that the word will be ever more fully at the heart of every ecclesial activity.
It is precisely with this hope that the CBF met in Extraordinary Plenary Assembly in Ariccia in June of 2011, submitting itself to the challenging process of renewal that God’s Word requires of us. Many efforts have been made since then to reconsolidate the CBF around its fundamental mission of sharing God’s Word with all men and women of our planet and to renewing the relationship between the various CBF members, boards and officers.
The work of the Executive Committee, the election of a new administrative board, the publication now of two issues of an electronic version of the Bulletin Dei Verbum in growing collaboration with CBF members across the planet, the development of a new funding strategy, the reinforcement of the CBF presence in North America, the elaboration of a CBF “position paper” for the Synod on the New Evangelization … are just a few of the steps that are helping the Federation to renew itself, to succeed the long awaited “new beginning”.
This can only succeed when the complex difficulties of the past years are understood and concrete steps of respectful clarification and gentle healing are consented by all. Just recently we have learned that the CBF President Bishop Vincenzo Paglia was entrusted by the Holy Father with the office of President of the Pontifical Council for the Family. The now Archbishop Paglia’s appointment and his commitment to deepening the biblical pastoral commitment of the Council provide a new challenge and unprecedented possibilities for the CBF’s biblical work with families.
Here again, Verbum Domini points to the importance of the ecclesial commitment to the life of families and shows us concrete ways for the biblical pastoral ministry: The ecclesial community must support and assist them [the spouses] in fostering family prayer, attentive hearing of the word of God, and knowledge of the Bible. To this end the Synod urged that every household have its Bible, to be kept in a worthy place and used for reading and prayer. Whatever help is needed in this regard can be provided by priests, deacons and a well prepared laity.
The Synod also recommended the formation of small communities of families, where common prayer and meditation on passages of Scripture can be cultivated. Spouses should also remember that “the Word of God is a precious support amid the diffi culties which arise in marriage and in family life” (Verbum Domini 85).
Clearly, the CBF has many challenges ahead of us, but we may be confident that, with the power of the Word and the help of the Spirit, the Federation shall be able to meet them in the future.
It is with great pleasure that I convey to you the greetings of Archbishop Paglia (CBF President), Bishop Mkude (Executive Committee Moderator) and Bishop Haßlberger (Chairman of the Administrative Board) as well as their prayers for the success of your
meeting. I myself send you my sincere thanks for the constructive collaboration and friendship during the past months and my encouragement for your endeavors, both during the meeting in Bandung and in the months and years to come.
I am eagerly awaiting an echo of your meeting and its conclusions so that we can share the news of your labors, your projects and your joy with all the members of the CBF fellowship.
Yours sincerely, in the Word,
Thomas P. Osborne
Acting General Secretary,
Sankt Ottilien and Luxembourg,
August 3, 2012
Filed under: Greetings