Myanmar: Verbum Domini Seminar Workshop

MYANMAR: Verbum Domini Seminar Workshop

By Estrella (Star) del Mar

My heartfelt thanks to Fr. Bosco Saw Lar Htoo, National Coordinator for the Biblical Apostolate in Myanmar, for inviting me to observe their national biblical workshop with the theme “Biblical Ministry in the light of Verbum Domini” on July 7-12, 2014.

The seminar had 76 participants: 14 were priests, 1 Bishop (Bp. Athai), 24 Sisters, the rest are lay people, mostly laywomen from 14 of the 16 dioceses of Myanmar.  The venue was The Church of Holy Rosary in Chanthagone, Mandalay popularly known as Our Lady of Lourdes Pilgrimage Center.

Myanmar - 1

The seminar was all done in Burmese language that I do not understand.  Nevertheless, I listened and observed.  The place was quite hot and humid.  Light was minimal and the electric fans were not enough but the people did not mind all the limitations.  They were all very attentive.  There are better venues but the price here is very low to allow more people to participate in seminars.

They had Lectio Divina at 5:30 am in small groups, Mass at 6:00am, breakfast then talks in the morning.  In the afternoon, the groups discussed the answers to guide questions.  After dinner, they had sharing of their biblical ministry experiences from where they were coming from.


Bishop Basilio Athai, the Chairman of the Episcopal Commission for the Biblical Apostolate for CBCM, gave 2 talks in the morning.  “The God who speaks” and “Christology”.  He must be a good speaker with a sense of humor since the participants were laughing every now and then.   Bp. Basilio is a good person, good speaker, good writer and poet.

The second speaker was Fr. Mariano Soe Naing, SDB.  His talk was “Interpretation of Sacred Scripture in the Church”.  The third speaker on the 3rd day was Fr. Peter Newman Raj on “The Word of God and Liturgy”.


The 4th speaker on the 4th day was Fr. Maurice Nyunt Wai on “The Word of God and Commitment in the World”.  He is also the Exec. Sec. of Catholic Bishops Conference of Myanmar.  The 5th speakers on the 5th day were Sr. Sylvia Lahpai, SFX and Fr. Bosco Saw on “The Word in the Life of the Church”.


The seminar-workshop of 5 days was 100% free for the participants paid for by the Episcopal Commission for the Biblical Apostolate in Myanmar. They have this activity twice a year: in July and in December.  They only had to pay for their transportation to come to the venue.  Some would have to pay more for transportation depending on their distance from Mandalay since the seminar-workshop is for all the dioceses of Myanmar. The farther dioceses had difficulty in sending delegates since transportation would be costly with the long hours of travel.

I do not understand their language but I sit there at the hot seminar hall, perspiring all the time because of the heat and humidity.  What I understood were their hunger to learn more about the Word of God, their attentiveness to the Speakers, their joy of being together, their eagerness to share their experiences and to learn from each other.


I appreciate their friendship, their loving hospitality, their generous service and thoughtfulness, their acceptance of a stranger for a companion.  I feel the love of God in their hearts. I understand more and more why God has a preferential option for the poor.  Isn’t the Catholic Church ought to be so?  Are we not taking pride to be called the Church of the Poor?  Or are we?  And truly, these people here need our help!

The people here are mostly very poor but they are rich in their hearts, their faith and in their hopes.  I am inspired by their enthusiasm and joy to spread the Word.  I am encouraged by their industry and generosity to offer voluntary services to spread the Good News. I am awed by their zeal and commitment.  I am strengthened by their faith and witnessing.  I am hopeful for the growth of their Christian communities.

I think I am having my personal retreat here … I appreciate my time of aloneness when they are busy with their group work since I cannot join them.  Truly there is a big difference between reading the events and being part of the event!  There is much to say but I need time to relish them all.


Verbum 2

By Estrella (Star) del Mar

Thailand: Bibliodrama Exchange 2014

Thailand: Bibliodrama Exchange 2014

Written by: MissTadsanee Mathurotsuwan

Pictures taken by: Mr.Monsingh   Kraisomsuk


Bishop Francis Xavier Vira Arpondratana, the president of the Catholic Commission on Catechetical Education – Desk for the Biblical Ministries of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Thailand and Fr. Somkiart Trinikorn, the person in charge of the Bible Commission of the Pastoral Council for the Archdiocese of Bangkok joined forces to organize a seminar on Bibliodrama entitled the Bibliodrama Exchange 2014. Fr. Oscar Alunday, SVD of the Divine Word Missionaries – Philippine Northern Province and Miss Mary Almonte of Notre Dame de Vie  Institute from the Philippines were the guest speakers of the seminar assisted by Bishop Francis Xavier Vira Arpondratana, Sr. Bang-on Mathurotsuwan of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Bangkok, Teacher Prapa Virasilp of the Commission for Catechetical Education – Desk for Catechesisof the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Thailand, Teacher Tadsanee Mathurotsuwan of the Catechetical Education Department of the Pastoral Council of the Archdiocese of Bangkok and Professor Monsingh Kraisomsuk of the Bible Commission as the event’s coordinator. There were 28 participants in this course, which was promoted and supported by the Bible Commission of the Pastoral Council of the Archdiocese of Bangkok.


These were the objectives of the Bibliodrama Exchange 2014:

  1. To share the different Bibliodrama programs, that were organized in the past in different places in order to learn from the differences and, eventually, improve the skills in the organization of Bibliodrama programs.
  2. To learn new methods from programs applied to different groups so that training participants may be able to apply Bibliodrama to the local culture in a better way.
  3. To listen to the various challenges of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium and be able to apply it as a part of Bibliodrama, making it a testimony of the good news that the Gospel brings
  4. To plan for a regular Bibliodrama Exchange training programs in Thailand (every 2 years) to assure continuous training and improvement for facilitators and participants of Bibliodrama in Thailand.


The following topics were discussed in the seminar:

 1. Bibliodrama Thailand team reports (by diocesan team, institute,  congregation).

  • Processes (biblical texts used, new elements / approaches explored)
  • Discoveries from the experiences(mixed groups, adults, youth, kids, indigenous tribes,  in/out of school, ecumenical groups, and religious communities)
  • Collaboration – links with other ministries (bibliodrama and catechetic, bibliodrama elements in seminars / prayers)

 2. And other additional topics

  • New Approaches(solo with local partner, bi‐lingual, with translation& demonstration, with physically impaired groups (sign language), with traumatized groups (use of dolls,symbols, shadows, lights,etc.)
  • Bibliodrama Inculturation(meanings of symbols, colors, gesture, workshop on cultural dance/gestures using Bibliodrama elements)
  • Bibliodrama Journey to the Past (Jewish Dance, my joys in Bibliodrama, my struggles in Bibliodrama)
  • Sharing of Best Practices in Bibliodrama (creative module making)

At the end of the Bibliodrama Exchange seminar, the guest speakers suggested the BIBLIOLOGUE method as an approach – a bibliodrama element, APPRECIATIVE COMMUNICATION(I thank you, I’m sorry, I hope that…) and INTERVIEW.

Bibliodrama-3Bishop Francis Xavier Vira Arpondratana also took this occasion to present the topic Evangelii Gaudium and the BiblicalPastoral Ministry “The Holy Father’s dream in this apostolic exhortation is for the Catholic Church to move ahead in reviving the pastoral and missionary work both in the personal and public life that is the capacity to change habits, lifestyle, language and the many comforts of life geared towards the spreading of the Gospel rather than protecting one’s self.   (Self-preservation)”  (EG 27)

After this session, there was a group discussion and they were given a question which they can reflect on and share their insights.

The question was: As a teacher, a catechist, a religious, a trainer, a lay person, a youth leader and a person in charge of the Bible Commission, how can you promote or help turn the proposal of the apostolic exhortation of the Holy Father into a reality?

The session was then followed by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to conclude the seminar and certificates were distributed by Bishop Francis Xavier Vira Arpondratana. The entire Bible Commission and all the seminar participants intend to continue the exchange of ideas, sharing of experiences and proposal of alternatives in the future following the guest speakers’ suggestions. On the 21st to 23rd of July 2015, information about the next event will be disseminated.

We thank the entire Bible Commission, our guest speakers and everyone who sent their staff to participate in this seminar. May God bless all of you!


Various Impressions on the Bibliodrama Exchange 2014 Seminar



Maria Natthawadi Choepo

Maria Natthawadi Choepo

Maria Natthawadi Choepo, an Akha who is a catechist at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Ngao District of the Province of Lampang

The Bibliodrama Exchange 2014 seminar was a synthesis, a way of sharing and a review of what we have learned from the other participants. It was a way to encourage each other reciprocally. The speakers reassured us that we can apply Bibliodrama anytime. It was a discovery of God in a simple and natural way like when we see each other every day. I hope that there would be another Bibliodrama Exchange seminar in order to review what we have learned and to provide the participants a chance to stay still and commune with God through His Words.

Thanks to God for this seminar because I was able to find quietude and God in a simple way. I pray that the love and peace of God may be with all of us.

Margarita Kommala Suriyapongpraphai

Margarita Kommala Suriyapongpraphai

Margarita Kommala Suriyapongpraphai, a catechist at St. Peter School at Samphran

I felt that this seminar seemed like a retreat. It was an occasion of reflection through the Word of God as the center of contemplation. At the same time,we learned varied techniques in sharing the message of the Bible to others in a lively way. Personally, I intend to use these forms in sharing the Word of God to students and parish community under my responsibility so that they too may experience the Word of God in their hearts and find happiness in those words.

Sr. Kanlaya Trisopha

Sr. Kanlaya Trisopha

Sr. Kanlaya Trisopha, Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Bangkok

This Bibliodrama course was excellent. It helped us to learn how to integrate the Bible and the Lectio Divina and how to read the Bible by using together your mind, heart and body. We learned to read it in a lively way through the use of bodily movements in sync with the music. In this way we were able to reach a more profound contemplation. When we were focused on the steps or movements, we were able to remain quiet with better concentration. It is something that we can also apply in reflective prayers.  This course helped us to revitalize our physical and spiritual life,

definitely another form of harnessing the power of the Bible in improving Christian life.Teachers and trainers who participated in the seminar can apply this technique in teaching catechism and prayers and in organizing seminars with various topics for different groups made up of either adults or children. It is an effective means to liven up the training courses. Special thanks to Bishop Francis Xavier Vira Arpondratana for introducing this new way of reading the Bible.

Ms. Sumalee Mukpaksacharoen

Ms. Sumalee Mukpaksacharoen

Ms. Sumalee Mukpaksacharoen, Thailand Catholic Society for the Deaf under the Department of Christian Laity of the Pastoral Council of the Archdiocese of Bangkok.

I was very impressed. For me who is a deaf person, I would only remember a little even if I study the Bible every week. But after this seminar, dancing to the music and the presentation of a play based on a part of the Bible, which are all a novelty for me, helped me to understand better the Holy Scriptures. They also helped me to reflect more on the Word of God in our own lives. In one of the workshops while we were dancing we were holding hands. When I placed my hand on the hand of the other and the other person placed her hand on mine, I felt the love of the brother or sister whose life is centered on God. I did not study much like normal people did, so when we were asked to go around and look for one word from a variety of different words from the Bible, I was worried at first because I did not understand anything. But I felt that the Holy Spirit helped me to understand the various words and choose well. I chose the word “back (come back)”. When I saw that word, I thought of my daughter who was not baptized into the Catholic faith. I want her to have her conversion. I will pray hard so that she too may become a Catholic.

Written by: MissTadsanee Mathurotsuwan

Pictures taken by: Mr.Monsingh   Kraisomsuk

Bishop Vira Sows Seeds

Bishop Francis Xavier Vira Arpondratana

CBFSEA’s Most Active Member and Collaborator in Thailand

Bishop ViraThe bishop of Thailand’s northernmost diocese, which is largely rural and dominated by hill tribes, has begun himself working in the fields alongside his flock, noting the importance of agriculture there.
“I try to understand the farmers, and to promote Catholic social teaching so that they can contribute to a holistic human development, can work for the common good of their family and for the entire nation,” Bishop Francis Xavier Vira Arpondratana of Chiang Mai told CNA.
The diocesan economy is largely agricultural, and the mountainous region lacks many amenities such as electricity and modern communications and highway infrastructure.
Relating how he began to work in the rice fields with his tribal flock, he said that “in fact, I did not want to work in the field, but I would like to support them; and one of the local nuns encouraged me, asking, ‘bishop why don’t you work with us?’”
And so Bishop Arpondratana took to the rice paddies with gusto.
“When someone asks, I would like to open my heart and mind and be with them,” he explained.
His work with farmers has inspired both them and catechists in the Chiang Mai diocese. He has organized a Lenten rice campaign in the diocese centered on prayer, penance, and alms giving.
The bishop is concerned for the local people, and is helping develop a strong sense of solidarity among the local ethnic groups: “I am aware of the economic situation of Europe, so we cannot ask help from there. We have to make the local people understand they must help each other locally, and not only receive help from afar.”
Bishop Arpondratana, 58, was ordained a priest of the Bangkok archdiocese, 430 miles south of Chiang Mai, in 1981, and served there until his appointment as bishop in 2009.
Full Story: Thai bishop sows seeds of evangelization in mission diocese

Read more at:

Myanmar’s Bible Event A Great Success!

Myanmar’s Bible Event A Great Success!

Verbum 2


Dear Friends in God’s Word,

With gratitude in the Word I wish to inform you

that we, the workers in the vineyard of the Lord

here in Myanmar have done successfully

the Seminar Workshop with the theme

” Biblical Pastoral Ministry in the Light of Verbum Domini”.

We are very grateful to you all for your kind prayer.

May the Good Lord bless you always!

In the Service of the Word,

Fr. Bosco Saw

CBCM, Myanmar


The following pictures will describe to you

the proceedings of the Seminar Workshop.



National Bible Workshop in Myanmar

Myanmar: National Bible Workshop 2014

Myanmar seminar

Dear Friends in the Word,

This is an information that we are going to have a National Bible Seminar/Workshop with the theme: “Biblical Pastoral Ministry in the Light of Verbum Domini”.  The National Seminar-Workshop will be done in Chanthagone, Mandalay, Myanmar on July 7-12, 2014. Please keep us in your prayers for the success of our seminar. The attendance is estimated at around 90 from the different dioceses of the country. Our sister Ms. Estrella “Star” del Mar from the Philippines will visit us during the seminar.

In the Service of the Word,

Fr. Saw Bosco