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Alkitab Versi Borneo to be used as official liturgical text for Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei

The delegates at the 25th Episcopal Regional Liturgy Commission (ERLC) meeting in Kuching. (Photo: Herald Malaysia Online)

Several updates on making Alkitab Versi Borneo (AVB) the official Bahasa Malaysia (BM) liturgical text for the Catholic regions of Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei were discussed during the 25th Meeting of the Episcopal Regional Liturgy Commission (ERLC) in Malaysia. 

This matter was one of the topics tackled by 27 delegates from the 11 archdioceses/dioceses in the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei (CBCMSB) at St. Peter’s College Seminary from May 22 to 24.

Once finalized, AVB will be officially used for Mass text and lectionary.

According to Bishop Sebastian Francis, president of the ERLC and the CBCMSB, a committee has been created under Kuching Archbishop Simon Poh that is tasked with releasing Sunday Mass texts every week based on the AVB translation for the use of the faithful.

Also formed for this purpose is a translation committee overseen by Miri Bishop Richard Ng, who has successfully translated the Deuterocanonical books for Catholic use within the AVB and is now ready for printing.

Even though it is still open for improvement and refinement, Bishop Francis noted that the AVB version is considered the valid provisional BM liturgical text to be used for Masses. After completing the three-year cycle, the ERCL will consider printing official BM Mass texts for the conference.

While still waiting for the AVB liturgical text to be finalized, the prelate said that the ERLC advises all dioceses to refrain from printing Bahasa liturgical booklets for now. 

The meeting, which is also considered ERLC’s silver jubilee gathering, also informed attendees that the new English translation for Eucharistic Prayers for Mass with Children is available and will be printed for the Conference.

Moreover, several updates about liturgical songs were also discussed.

The new hymnal book for liturgical musicians and choirs is reported to have entered the printing stage after being compiled for more than 20 years.

ERLC secretary Father Vincent Chin said the Sing Your Praise to God (SYPG) Hymnal Accompaniment Edition has obtained a license covering its printing but not permission for projection. Therefore, he clarifies that the hymnal should not be projected on screens during liturgical services.

Father Chin also announced that the old SYPG hymnal has been officially phased out.

As for Chinese hymnals, which are currently under review, ERLC said that all Chinese Mass choirs only have until June 2024 to submit both hard and soft copies of their songs to the working committee for them to be considered for compilation.

ERLC will meet again next year on June 3-6, 2024, in Miri, Sarawak.- Luke Godoy


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