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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
Bishop Francis Xavier Vira Arpondratana also took this occasion to present the topic Evangelii Gaudium and the Biblical‐Pastoral 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, 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, 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, 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, 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.