Celebrating Ten Years of Service to the Word

We celebrate the tenth year of the existence of this blog site of the CBF-SEA in the service of the Word linking us all here in Southeast Asia and the whole world. We thank and glorify the Almighty for all His blessings unto us through the years. The site was visited for 90,355 as of this writing. We thank all the people involved in the creation of this site. We remember that year 2007 when Sr. Emma celebrated her 70th birthday and this is a gift to her on that very significant occasion.


CBF-SEA: Welcomes New Coordinating Team!


From the 7th CBFSEA Workshop in Nha Trang, Vietnam,

we, your coordinating team, after serving for 21 years,

say goodbye to you.

Not with sadness or regret, but with a grateful heart.

It is the Lord who brought us together in this vast sub region.

We have been working together, in good times and bad times.

inspiring each other in living and spreading the Word of  Life.

Somebody said that our sub region is most active and alive.

I don’t know whether that is true, but I pray, that our sub region

under the banner of Dr. Natividad Pagadut, the new coordinator,

may grow and with great zeal proclaim the Good News

to our people in this modern world.

Let us remain united in Him, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Yours in the Word

Star, Doms, Emma





We, the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, gathered to celebrate the 51st International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu City, Philippines (January 24-31, 2016) now relive the beautiful experience of the two disciples of Emmaus.

We are convinced that the Holy Spirit sends us forth in order to proclaim the story of Jesus. This congress is like the gathering of the early disciples when they joyfully shared stories of how each of them encountered the Risen Lord in the Sacred Scripture and in the Breaking of the Bread.

Bread of Hope. The Eucharist, being a living and life-giving encounter with Christ in the totality of his Paschal Mystery, is truly the source of and impetus for hope. Through the Eucharist, we come to feel that we are possessed by the love of God and with this conviction, conversion of the heart begins. When our worship is done through Christ, with him and in him, then the Eucharist becomes source of healing and our hope of glory. The Eucharist is our bread of hope for it challenges us to live thankfully and joyfully, notwithstanding all the difficult realities of life.Only those who have endured a lot or have faced various crises in life, those who suffer almost on a daily basis, can know and possess spiritual resilience and truly celebrate life’s joys and remain hopeful.

Bread for the Poor. The Eucharist commits us to the poor, to love and to come to their help. We are challenged to reach out to the poor and help uplift them materially and spiritually as a concrete way of living out the Eucharist. The Eucharist compels us to act and to give them something to eat. The example of Jesus, particularly the meal stories, teaches us what every Eucharist should be: breaking bread with the poor and the marginalized. The presence of our brothers and sisters who have less in life is a constant reminder that the poor is the privileged place of encounter with Jesus outside the Eucharist.

Bread of Dialogue. The Eucharist which is the sacrament of the bread of life fills our spirits and strengthens our resolve as we take the tortuous path of dialogue with religions, cultures, youth and the poor. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit for mutual understanding, openness and conversion of hearts and minds. The Eucharist – the real presence of Jesus – sustains our hearts and nourishes our souls as we journey towards the convocation where God gathers us all in an inclusive communion, banishing distinctions that alienate and celebrating the gift each one brings.

Bread for Mission. Energized and renewed by the Eucharist, Christ’s missionary disciples are sent into the world to be broken bread for a broken world. They move from Eucharistic celebration to Eucharistic commitment. The Eucharist is not just a gift but also a task and mission that can change the world. Indeed, Eucharist enables us to effectively respond to the cry of the poor, the cry of the earth and the cry of Jesus Christ. Missionary dynamism springs from an encounter with Jesus through deep prayer because the lungs of evangelization is prayer. We are a people on mission; truly, IEC 2016 is a clarion call to mission for all of us. Our Eucharist is the source and goal of the Church’s mission.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Incarnate Word and the Eucharistic Lord, accompany us, missionary disciples, in order to share Jesus Christ is us our hope of glory.




51st International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu, Philippines

iec logo

The 51st International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu, Philippines was joyfully opened last Sunday with a mass celebrated by the Papal Legate Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Myanmar. He was our key note speaker during our 6th CBF – Southeast Asia Bible Workshop held in Bandung, Indonesia last August 6-10, 2012. Sr. Emma Gunanto, OSU and Ms. Estrella C. del Mar with some members of the CBF SEA attended this great event. The Congress will close this coming Sunday, January 31, 2016. Here is the message, key-note address and homily of the Papal Legate (courtesy of the IEC2016 official website):

Message and Homily of Cardinal Charles Maung Bo at the Opening Mass

Monday, January 25th, 2016

Charles Maung Cardinal Bo, SDB, DD



charles-maung-cardinal-bo-sdbAko ay masaya na makarating dito sa Cebu!

I stand on this holy ground, full of gratitude and joy, bringing the message of hope and joy from the prophet of the millennium, our dear Holy Father Francis.

Pope Francis loves you very much!

Ang atong San Padre gihigugma kamong tanan!

Kayong lahat ay mahal na mahal ng Santo Padre!

We are grateful today. Gratitude to God that an event of immense significance as this International Eucharistic Congress has brought together the Catholic Church to the cradle of Catholic Faith in Philippines, Cebu. I am grateful to Our Holy Father for his trust and the honor he bestowed your humble servant to be the legate. I am grateful to the warm welcome, the deep communion we feel as Catholics all over the world. I am humbled and grateful to this opportunity to be with you.

You are a great nation, the light to Asia, the biggest Catholic Community in Asia. This pivotal Catholic Nation that has promoted the growth of Catholicism in Asia. Your light has shown in every part of the world through your sons and daughters whose exemplary faith has been for ages, the beacon of evangelization.

In some parts of the world, Catholicism means Filipino presence. Every migrant working from Philippines is a Paul of Tarsus in more than 120 countries they serve. Sa Hong Kong, London, sa Cairo, sa Roma, sa Dubai ng Pilipino ay nasa lupa. Ang Pilipino ay na sa hangin. Ang Pilipino ay na sa tubig. Nasa lahat ng dako ang dugong Pilipino! For the last five decades, the only place that welcomed our priests, religious and laity with open arms and cared for them is you and the Church in the Philippines.

Today, Myanmar church is a confident church, your communion was a poignant show of Eucharistic fellowship with a suffering church. You have shared the bread of hospitality, the bread of knowledge, the bread of your love for the people who came here.

We are gathered on a global stage, a global table, for a Cosmic Eucharist, Eucharist as a Mission in Cebu! You are the door of Christianity to this great nation. After a week-long celebration of Senor Santo Niño de Cebu, you have gathered here, commemorating 500 jubilee of the arrival of faith with the people and after 79 years of a Eucharistic congress in this great land of faith, you have come forward to celebrate this global fellowship.

The theme: The Christ in you is the Hope of Glory – taken from Colossians is a theme that echoes through your mountains, through your beautiful rivers, soothes the heart of millions of Filipinos. This is a historic moment. God gave you a nation of unparalleled beauty, but sadly challenged with the frequent natural disasters. your beloved Bishop Claver, SJ once said that the Philippines has the unenviable title of being the disaster capital of the world, but time and again, you have proved your resilience, your faith, rising from all challenges. May this 51st IEC be the moment of healing the earth, the wounded planet, and healing the graceful people of this country and everyone gathered here.

You have wisely chosen a theme of timeless relevance: Christ in you is the Hope of Glory – the Eucharist- the source and Goal of Mission. This theme assigns three tasks:

  1. To promote awareness of the central place of the Eucharist in life and mission
  2. To help improve our understanding and celebration of Eucharist liturgy
  3. To draw attention to the social dimension of the Eucharist

Eucharist: The Treasure of Faith for Christians

Five hundred years ago, Christianity entered this land as a treasure, a command to be executed, a promise to be repeated, a mission to be fulfilled. But the treasure of faith started with a few simple sentences:

“You shall love God and your neighbor as yourself. What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul? God loves this world and he gave his only son, not to condemn, but to redeem.

You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church.”

But all of these words, a short sentence, changed history. They are the words:


Yes. The most powerful words in the human history, the most powerful words in the dialogue of God with man. The powerful words by which the world is nourished today. Mother church has cut these verbal diamond into a single word: EUCHARIST. Thomas Aquinas summed up the centrality of the Eucharist for us with the great lyrical praise:

O Sacred Banquet in which Christ is received; the memory of his Passion renewed.

The mind filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory to us is given. Alleluia

Eucharist is the spiritual jewel. Any jewel needs to be seen in various angles and lights. We are fortunate to gather these days through seminars and gatherings to see its various splendor.

The Eucharist encompasses various facets of Christian life.

Vatican II tells us that the Eucharist is the “source and summit of the Christian life.” (Lumen gentium, no. 11)

This mystery of the Eucharist has two eyes: the Presence and the Mission.

PRESENCE – the quest of Human dignity – Man in God’s Image.

Eucharist is a historic faith event. Eucharist is the presence of Jesus. It is the same Lord of Moses, Abraham and Isaac.

It is the same Lord who through the Paschal meal liberated the Israelites from slavery, through his son, the Paschal lamb extends to the WHOLE humanity. The gift of redemption and salvation. The celebration of Eucharist and its adoration continue to affirm that the work of liberation and redemption is not yet over.

We adore Jesus in the sacrament of the most Holy. In our personal moments with him, in our solemn benedictions and in our adoration chapels, the Presence of Christ continues to be adored. The Eucharist and adoration is the intense faith encounter with Jesus, But this encounter needs others, the community.

It was Mother Teresa who contemplated this mystery of Presence.

She says every Holy Communion fills us with Jesus and we must go in haste to give him to others.” Mother Mary, whose body became the first altar of the Eucharist, Jesus, when she was conceived with him, the Bible says, she rushed in haste to meet Elizabeth.

Adoring Jesus in the Eucharist is also accepting our fellow men and women as created in the image of God. In a world that kills children in the womb, I a world that spends more on arms than on food, in a world that continues to have millions of poor, Eucharist is a major challenge to the whole humanity. Can we feel the presence of God in our brothers and sisters? Pope John Paul talked about the culture of death. Pope Francis spoke of a culture of indifference.

Eucharist then, cries out from the womb to tomb human dignity. Abortion, death penalty, euthanasia, etc. are vital challenge to Eucharist today. Our adoration of Eucharist affirms our unalienable faith in human dignity. Governments and others need to appreciate our faith vision.

So millions of Catholics attend mass, adore the sacrament. As we gather not only the bread on the altar becomes the body of Christ. Each one of us is joined with our brothers and sisters as one body “We, though many, are one body (1 Cor 10:17). The great awareness brings us to the first great task: Eucharist and Mission.”

  1. From Eucharistic Celebration to Eucharistic Commitment – Mission Adoration alone may make us good devotees. But being a devotee in one of the easiest things. Debosyon sa Santo Ninyo, Debosyon kay Hesus Nazareno. It is good.

Christ is calling us to be disciples, to carry his cross; the Mass of the devotee ends in an hour. But the Mass of the disciple is unending. The Eucharist of the devotee is confined to the clean, decorated altars of the church. The Eucharist of the disciple continues with the streets as altar.

Christ died in the street, dragged on the streets, proclaimed his good news on the streets, and affirmed the human dignity in the streets. His altar was the world, He broke the bread of healing, He broke the bread of feeding, He broke the bread of reconciling, He broke the bread of Good News. His disciples carried the task. The very act of Eucharistic assembly was revolutionary in the Act of the Apostles. The first disciples were martyred for the act of coming together and breaking of the bread.

John Paul said, “It is the impulse which the Eucharistic gives to the community for a practical commitment to building a more just and fraternal society”. (Mane Nobiscum Domine-Ap Letter Oct 2007- #28). Pope Benedict in: SACRAMENT CARITATIS 2007 says, “Personal encounter with the Lord occurs in the Eucharisti. And this is preciously the personal encounter with the Lord that strengthens the mission contained in the Eucharist.”

Yes, Eucharist leads us to mission. What is the mission? Vatican II defines the three fold mission of Christian – in the Ws: Word, Worship, and Witness. The first W is knowing the word of God and Proclaiming the Good News, The second is the worshipping as a community, affirming the oneness of the Christian community in the image of the triune God as the first Christians did, the third is the Witnessing through social mission with our concern for the weak and the vulnerable, what Pope Francis calls the “view from the margin”.

That brings us to the next important role of the Eucharist:

  1. Eucharist and the Poor

Once a priest told me uttering the consecration words in the Mass was becoming very difficult. The words “Take and Eat” are very difficult for me, he said. He was living in a place affected by war and displacement and food was hard to come by. He was reminded by his people’s hunger and difficulty in uttering the words by Jesus.

Yes we break bread in an unjust world. UNICEF says everyday 20,000 children die of starvation and malnutrition. That is 900,000 every month and 10 million a year. A silent genocide, the biggest terrorism in the world; what is the greatest moral sin that seeing a child dying of starvation today?

The Eucharist and the poor are inseparable. It was the church Father John Chrysostom who said “Do you wish to honor the body of Christ? Do not ignore him when he is naked. He who said ‘this is my Body’ is the same who said: You saw me hungry and you gave me food”. Mother Teresa advised her sisters: The love for the Eucharist helps us to love the poor. Be the love, the compassion, the presence to the poor.

Eucharist is a dream and a reality because Jesus is truly present. A dream because it is the hope of the future, the eschatological meal of human equality. Today you have gathered from various backgrounds, the rich and poor, the noble and peasant, aristocrat and the servant. But when you approach the altar, the Eucharist strips you off all your social status. You are just an equal among equal. In an unequal and uncaring world, the Eucharist steadfastly remains the beacon of human equality. The Eucharist calls us to justice. No other religion elevates justice to this level. No other religion elevates the poor to this level as Mary narrates after the word was flesh in her “the mighty will be brought down and the lowly will be raised up”.

This calls for our commitment to a world of justice. Eucharist calls for a third world war, a third world war against poverty. A third world war against the cruelty of dogs fed with sumptuous organic food while poor children scramble for crumbs from the table, a third world war against a world that produces more weapons whilst more than half a billion do not get enough food every day.

Despite this happening, the Eucharist will remain a revolutionary flag hoisted everyday on millions of altars, crying for justice like the prophets of old. “The real fasting I need is the breaking the chains of injustice, remove the yolk of oppression, share the food with the hungry, sheltering the homeless” (Is 58:6-14). This country’s urgent task is to fulfil the prophecy. This biggest Catholic country in Asia needs to declare a war that fights for thousands who are still in poverty and forces them to unsafe migration. The economic injustice and the environmental injustice penetrated with impunity in this country and elsewhere make our Eucharistic celebrations vulnerable to prophetic attacks. “I do not look at your communion sacrifices; spare me the noise of your chanting, let me not hear your strumming of lyres; let justice and righteousness flow like a never failing stream. (Amos 5)

This I think is the clarion call to mission today for all of us who attended this congress. Another world is possible. An economic system that does not treat human beings as commodities is possible, another world where the world is our common home is possible. Until that happens, the Eucharist will continue to be challenged. Our mission remains incomplete.

  1. Eucharist as the healing Power for Unity

We are journeying through uneasy times. Hatred based on religion and culture is expanding. Being Christian is such a risk today. “Take the cup; this is my blood” is not just Eucharistic words. It is true in the lives of many Christians today. Not only Christians, the country from where I come from faced war and conflict for the last sixty years. The world is fragmented. Humanity is soaked in tears and blood today. Cain continues his hatred for his brother.

Christianity offered a new version of humanity through Eucharist. Before the Passover meal, Christ offered an example of service, washing the feet of his disciples. Instead of killing a scape goat, Christ became the lamb of God. He exhorted, “Pray for those who persecute you”. He forgave from the Cross. The Eucharist remains a sign of hope for humanity.

The community life of the first Christians were such an inspiring fellowship. (Acts 2 and 4) Breaking of the bread was a spiritual experience, but it was also a political statement in a colonized Israel, fragmented as Romans, Pharisees and the poor. Paul could boast “In Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentiles, neither slave nor free nor there is male and female, for you are all one in Christ” (Gal: 2:28). Reality is different but God is the same. Paul once again defines Eucharist as: The bread is one though we are many, we share one body. (1 Cor. 10:17)

Ang bansang Pilipinas ay nangangailangan ng kapayapaan!

Ang mundo ay nangangailangan ng kapayapaan!

Let this Congress set in motion a movement for reconciliation.

The Eucharist is always preceded by reconciliation. The gospel of Matthew stipulates the condition for a true reconciliation: “If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. (Matthew 5: 23-24).

Christians need to pray with St. Francis of Assisi “Make me a channel of Peace, where there is hatred let me sow love”. This unity and reconciliation need to start with our families, our parishes and communities, among religions. Blessed are the peace makers (Mt 5:9). Peace is the bread that the Catholic Community waits to share with all communities.

This Congress highlights the presence of God through our veneration to the Eucharist. This Eucharistic Congress, held in this great city and a great country, make us move from Eucharistic celebration to Eucharistic commitment in promoting the Eucharist as a mission, the Eucharist as the bread of justice to the poor, the Eucharist as the bread of peace in conflict areas.

God bless you.

Maraming salamat!




Jesus kneeling




By Estrella (Star) del Mar

20150619_114938The 9th Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Biblical Federation was held at Ad Gentes Missionari Verbiti at Nemi on June 18-23, 2015 with the theme: HOLY SCRIPTURE, SOURCE OF EVANGELIZATION. Many thanks to our new General Secretary, Fr. Jan Stefanów, SVD, for having arranged and organized everything, that made these five days an enriching and fruitful experience of the Word in its global dimension.

A Lectio Divina guide was prepared that focused on the four aspects of relationship on Word and Mission from the perspective of a “Church which goes forth.” We had Lectio Divina in small groups according to language groups and a mixture of Bishops, Priests, Religious and Lay. This was done every morning before breakfast. The Lectio Divina sharing was so enriching, inspiring and challenging as well.

The Eucharistic Celebrations, prepared by regional groups, were celebrated in the evenings except for the Sunday mass that was held in the morning with the Region of Asia preparing the Liturgy. The Sunday mass was presided by the Bishop from India and the homilist was Bishop Ambo David, DD of the Philippines. His homily is also published in the CBF-SEA website.

Bishop Ambo was inspired by the Sunday readings especially the Gospel and made a good summary of the CBF journey especially the hard and painful times. Now, we do not talk about it. We need to learn from it and move on for a new start, for our new beginnings. He proposed three steps:

  • Learn to leave the crowd every now and then.
  • Quiet, be still!
  • Have faith—in the sense of “remember”.

20150621_164955-1The homilies of our new President, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, DD, from the Philippines reminded us to be humble, forgiving, trusting, caring, and be sensitive to the Spirit to make God’s Kingdom a reality in our world. In his conference, he enumerated several challenges for us to respond to the needs of the times, to do something about the present situation and to proclaim all the more God’s Word in our lives. The Final Statement summarized these challenges there.

We are happy to have a President who leads the way, who guides us with questions and proposals that are concrete enough to show us the directions. Now, we have a lot of tasks to do. The CBF General Secretariat had prepared a blueprint of a 6-year plan of action that is concrete and doable. These were translated into programs and projects by the Regions that could be accomplished in 6 years. A sample curriculum of a 2-year course for a Masters in Biblical Pastoral Ministry was presented to us that we could easily duplicate in our sub-region. A concrete plan (based on the Luxembourg template was already worked out by the Members guided by our new South East Asian sub-regional Coordinator that is ECBA represented by Bishop Ambo David.

CBF PA 2015__DSC5956-2CBF-SEA will have its own Masters’ Program for Biblical-Pastoral Ministry at the SVD School of Theology in Tagaytay City, Philippines – which some of the faculty of the Seminary had already started in the past. We only need to enrich it and invite more CBF Experts to be resource persons. An educational trip to the Holy Land will also be a part of this course. We need to tap the Resource Persons who are already giving courses at the Holy Land. Since some possible participants may not be able to afford a long stay-in course or finish the 2-year program, some shorter modular courses will also be available for them. Bible Translation is given a priority too and need to be given the proper resources for the success of the project. The Catholic Lectionaries could be a joint project of the Bible Scholars and the Liturgy Commission. Since the Bible is to permeate all the pastoral activities of the Church, it is important that our future priests would also get a good training on Biblical Pastoral Ministry and how it is done aside from their Exegesis courses.

Workshops, meetings and communication networks were also planned out and given tentative schedules.

So much had been planned to be worked out and implemented in the next 6 years before the next Plenary Assembly.

The two resource persons: Nuria Calduch-Benages and Maricel Mena López posed challenges in the new way of reading Scriptures highlighting the challenges of Dei Verbum, Verbum Domini and Evangelii Gaudium. Cardinal Tagle put concrete images of the present situation of the world that these new way of reading and interpreting Scriptures would have to be worked out in concrete programs centering on the Word of God. Pope Francis reminded us to look at the lives of the people and their present socio-economic-political situations and make the Word of God speak to them in these present conditions for inspiration, enlightenment and hope.20150621_120436

This is also true to the Catholic Biblical Federation. We cannot continue to dwell on the past that cannot be changed as it had already happened. We had learned our lessons. We move on with wisdom, renewed inspiration and vitality to respond to the challenges of the times in God’s Word. We need to face the present realities guided by the Word which also needs to be read and listened to in a new way.

The Catholic Biblical Federation with its new set of members of the Executive Committee, the Commission groups, the new Coordinators of the regions and sub-regions will move ahead to meet these present challenges to make the Bible, the Holy Scriptures, the Word of God become more and more relevant in the lives of our people. And we begin with ourselves. We need to witness to the people the message of the Word – to build a loving, caring, forgiving, trusting and hoping community.

We pray that our number will grow and communities of the Word will flourish. We dream that people may say to our Federation “See how they love one another!” And we support each other in different ways by sharing whatever we have.

CBF has started the new beginning. Let us rejoice and be glad in the Lord as we thank our great leaders of the past that made CBF grow in number around the world. We are a global community in the Word! How happy we are to stay and share together in these few days and all in God’s Word! Praise be the Lord of love, compassion and mercy!

CBF PA 2015__DSC6394-2


Millions Of Filipinos Witnessed the Visit of Pope Francis In the Philippines

Millions Of Filipinos Witnessed

the Visit of Pope Francis In the Philippines

01. Pope Francis in the Philippines

02. Pope Francis in the PhilippinesCatholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president Archbishop Socrates Villegas, in his gratitude message, compared Pope Francis to both a raincoat and sunshine.

“You are our friend, our inspiration, our raincoat in the rain and sunshine when it is cloudy. Pope Francis, we love you,” Villegas said Sunday before the pontiff gave his final blessing during his concluding Mass at Luneta.

“Holy Father, you are our sunshine. For many days since you came, it has always been a sunrise of smiles for us Filipinos. We are not feeling the rain. You have brought us joy, you have brought us hope, you have brought us warmth. You have brought us Jesus,” he added.

Pope Francis waves to the crowd next to President Aquino upon his arrival at Villamor Air Base in ManilaVillegas made the comments amid a steady downpour in Manila, where an estimated six million people gathered to hear Pope Francis speak.

“Please receive our message of gratitude for celebrating the Sto. Niño feast today,” Villegas told a smiling Pope.

In the same message, Villegas waxed poetic about the power of Pope Francis’ words on the faith of Filipino Catholics, calling the Holy Father’s love for Pinoys “typhoon-proof.”

Young Filipinos welcome Pope Francis on his Popemobile as he arrives for the "Meeting with the Youth" at the University of Santo Tomas

“The sun is now setting on Manila Bay. The romantic poets among us call the Manila Bay sunset view the most beautiful sunset in

Pope's Mass With the Religious and Clergy at the Manila Cathedral

Pope’s Mass With the Religious and Clergy at the Manila Cathedral

the world. Some of us are afraid of the sunset as we are afraid of the dark, but we are not afraid anymore, because yesterday in Tacloban, you taught us that love casts away all fears. Your love for the Filipino people is stronger than all typhoons; your love is typhoon-proof,” he said.

Finally, Villegas promised not to forget the pontiff’s words to spread the message of Catholic faith.

“Holy Father, when you give us the blessing tonight, we will be your lights. We will light Asia and the world with mercy and compassion of Jesus. We will light the world with the joy of the gospel,” he said. — BM, GMA News


His Holiness in Tacloban City

His Holiness in Tacloban City

Cardinal Tagle’s Thanksgiving Message to Pope Francis in Luneta:

Most Holy Father,

In the name of the Archdiocese of Manila, the people who worked tirelessly for your pastoral visit, and the Filipinos whom you have been strengthened in faith these past days, I once again say Thank You. I say “Maraming Salamat po” (Thank you very much) on behalf of the street children, the orphans, the widows, the homeless, the informal settlers, the laborers, the farmers, the fisher folk, the sick, the abandoned elderly, the families of missing persons, the victims of discrimination, violence, abuse, exploitation, human trafficking, the Filipino migrant workers and their families, the survivors of natural calamities and armed conflicts, the non-Christian Catholics, the followers of non-Christian religions, the promoters of peace especially in Mindanao and creation that groans. We say again, “Maraming salamat po, Santo Padre.”

You often end your encounters with people by saying, “I ask you to pray for me.” We promise to pray for you. But we

The Pope's Mass in Tacloban

The Pope’s Mass in Tacloban

want to assure you that Jesus prays for you. Jesus himself declared to Peter, “I have prayed for you that you own faith may not fail.” (Luke 22:32). Your Holiness, you are blessed. Jesus prays for you. We your beloved Filipinos unite ourselves with Jesus in praying for you to God the Father.

You arrived in the Philippines three days ago. Tomorrow you will go. Every Filipino wants to go with you – not to Rome – but to the peripheries, to the shanties, to prison cells, to hospitals, to the world of politics, finance, arts, sciences, culture, education, and social communications. We will go to these worlds to bring the light of Jesus, Jesus who is the center of your pastoral visit and the cornerstone of the Church. We will go where the Light of Jesus is needed. Here in Luneta, the Qurino Grandstand, where heroes are revered, newly elected presidents take office and popes meet the Filipino faithful, here in a place of new beginnings, send us forth as missionaries of the light. Before you go, Holy Father, send us to spread the light of Jesus. Wherever the light of Jesus shines, you and the Filipino people will always be united. Mabuhay, Santo Padre! Mabuhay si Kristo! Let the light of Christ shine!

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope Francis With the Orphans

Pope Francis With the Orphans

With the Families at the Mall of Asia

With the Families at the Mall of Asia

Pope Francis

The Largest

The Largest Sunday Mass in History

World record. Filipinos fill the Rizal Park and the areas nearby to attend the mass celebrated by Pope Francis (inset) at the Quirino Grandstand on Sunday. Ey Acasio and AFP

World record. Filipinos fill the Rizal Park and the areas nearby to attend the mass
celebrated by Pope Francis (inset) at the Quirino Grandstand on Sunday. Ey Acasio
and AFP


Greetings and Sharing of Biblical Activities from Phnom Penh, Cambodia






The Liturgy of the Hours of Ho Chi Minh, Viet Nam

The Liturgy of the Hours of Ho Chi Minh, Viet Nam

CBF member since 1995

By: Estrella (Star) del Mar


Fr. Pascal Paschal Nguyen Ngoc Tinh, OFM, the head of The Liturgy of the Hours Group, sent me a welcoming invitation even before I left for Thailand and Myanmar.  Margaret Nguyen Thi Hong Sen sent me welcoming emails to her house and Fr. Joseph Tran Hoa Hung, SDB duplicated the warm welcome to Viet Nam.  I was so excited to meet the people who compose the Liturgy of the Hours Group and to see Viet Nam, its people and the Catholic Church there.

Fr. Joseph Tran Hoa Hung, SDB often represented the Liturgy of the Hours Group in the CBF workshops, assemblies and meetings.  When I asked him what the Liturgy group is doing, he answered me “Bible Translation”.

The Liturgy of the Hours Group is composed of priests, sisters and laymen who are all Catholics working on translating the Bible and the Liturgy of the Hours book in Vietnamese. They are also publishing the Lectionary in Vietnamese. They got financial help from the United Bible Societies.

Liturgy of the Hours Group-1

These are the members of the Liturgy of the Hours Group:

The pioneers are these first four who started the LHG in 1971: Fr. Pascal Nguyen Ngoc Tinh, OFM, Fr. Albert Tran Phuc Nhan who died in June 2014, Fr. Andrew Do Xuan Que, OP and Fr. Xuan Ly Bang who served until 1975 only.  Of the pioneers, Fr. Pascal and Fr. Andrew are still active members until now.

Liturgy of the Hours Group-2

The Postulants joining the group are the following:

Sr. Agnes Nguyen Thi Canh Tuyết  (2008) ;  Matthew Vu Van Luong, OP    (2010) ; Peter Tran Hung Vinh Quang, OP (2012); Peter Nguyen Tuan Hoan (Lay)  (2013); Paul Nguyen Quang Thanh  (2014)

Liturgy of the Hours Group-3

I am very grateful for their warm hospitality.  I was enriched and inspired by the sharing. I enjoyed the welcome lunch and the despedida lunch with the group.  The group does not only love their work but more so, they enjoy each other’s company and share a friendship that is strengthened by the Word through the years.

Liturgy of the Hours Group-4

Liturgy of the Hours Group-5

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

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.