6TH SOUTH EAST ASIA BIBLE WORKSHOP
CATHOLIC BIBLICAL FEDERATION
August 6-10, 2012
“That which we have seen and heard ,
we proclaim also to you so that you may have also fellowship
with us and our fellowship is with the Father
and with his Son Jesus Christ”
(I Jn 1, 2-3) VD 2.
In the 6th CBF-SEA Workshop, with the theme Verbum Domini: The Word in Our World Today, we the 57 participants from six countries (Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines) came to Bandung, Indonesia, home of the CBF-SEA sub-region coordinator Sr. Emmanuel Gunanto, OSU, for an important event. We came to celebrate the gift of our life and mission together as CBF-SEA and to move ahead by planning the programs that will implement the exhortations of the Verbum Domini in the contexts of our countries. This hopefully prepares the CBF-SEA for the celebration of the Year of Faith.
This gathering of five days was a continuous encounter with the Lord walking with us, as in Emmaus (Lk 24, 13-35). At the heart of this gathering is encountering the risen Lord, teaching us how to pay attention to him who comes to us in new and surprising ways as we walk along the road of discipleship and mission.
The timing of the workshop was perfect. It began on the feast of Transfiguration and concluded on the feast of St. Lawrence, deacon and martyr. The Lord’s message to us as biblical pastoral workers was clear: He wants to transfigure us as servants of the Word and encourage us to give of ourselves cheerfully relying on his providence and assured of the blossoming of his Word. Indeed the Word of God proclaimed in the liturgy is always living and effective through the power of the Holy Spirit (VD 52) and that from the gospel we discover anew the direction for our journey (VD 51).
We feel fortunate to have been richly nourished through the wisdom of our pastors and speakers who have guided us towards a deeper understanding and appreciation of the message of the papal document. Their bearing, so expressive of the humble, listening and loving Shepherd, has inspired us. These experiences, together with our enriching celebration of the Word and the Eucharist, of the reports from the different countries, of fellowship, and of cultural and interreligious exposures, have challenged us to make concrete responses. Hopefully these will make many others partakers of the same treasures of the Word and of the document. We therefore believe in pursuing the following, either as CBF-SEA or individual local Church:
1. Translation and Production of Bibles, Programs, documents, Homiletic Aides, Bible References Guide
This is still a priority concern in all SEA countries as the Word is still a privilege of the few and many are left either without it or have to do with one in a language not their own. This goes true for the other pertinent documents such as Verbum Domini, Bible Study Programs, Homiletic Aids and relevant pastoral-biblical ministry materials.
2. On-going Integral Formation of Pastoral-Biblical Workers
The present set of pastoral-biblical workers need an on-going integral formation in line with the thrust of the Verbum Domini. It is also noted that more workers are to be engaged in the same apostolate and for whom a relevant formation program is to be drafted and implemented. For all of them, both old and new, an integral pastoral care needs to be extended.
We commend our pastoral biblical workers for their commitment and sacrifices. There is a need to provide them with skills training, updating, financial assistance, and to encourage more faithful to join them in the task. We commit to training new co-workers especially from among the young.
3. Formation of the Faithful in the Word of God
Moved by compassion for the multitudes, “sheep without a shepherd”, the CBF-SEA sees the importance of cascading the life-giving power of the Word through holding of seminars and workshops that will empower the laity. In many instances, resources run short in order to realize this undertaking.
The means of the mass media cannot be underestimated and therefore every country must try to find ways how to explore and make use of it for the benefit of the proclamation of the Word. Establishing a web site, producing videos, CD’s, magazines must be seriously considered.
4. Collaboration with Existing Institutions/Communities
The spirit of collaboration is the heart of the CBF, bringing together the different local and international institutions united by the common concern for the Word. It is therefore part of the CBF life to bring together these institutions through assemblies and partnerships in the different undertakings. Assemblies in the form of mandated regular gathering of the members and open to associates and guests or for purposes of formation through seminars and workshops, may be enriched when done with the help of the expertise available within the SEA and made easier when financial constraints are overcome through generosity of some funding agencies.
We acknowledge the undertakings and programs of every country and we urge them to continue the present initiatives. Pragmatic concerns may come into consideration but the CBF-SEA, well anchored in the providence of God proven in many ways and instances, believes that these programs cannot be hindered or delayed by lack of help from the outside. With the existing resources within the SEA sub-region, especially in terms of expertise from among our members, much can happen. Each must be always aware of the urgency to spread the Word, make it understood, the way Jesus commanded his apostles, “Provide yourselves with no gold or silver, not even with coppers for your purses, with no haversack for the journey or spare tunic or footwear or a staff, for the laborer deserves his keep” (Mt. 10, 9-10). Our little contributions like the boy with five loaves of barley bread and two fish (Jn 6, 7-15) will surely bring a lot of fragments to gather and our harmonious working together in the spirit of angklung symphony will produce a liberating music to the spirit.
We thank all those who have made their contributions to make this assembly indeed fruitful. We make special mention of the Ursuline Sisters, the Diocese of Bandung and the members of the Angela Merici Biblical Center and all the other lay collaborators.
May the Lord, through the help of the Virgin Mother, help us prepare the soil and let the seed grow, blossom and yield much fruit.
Sr. Emmanuel Gunanto, OSU
10 August 2012