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Indian Church gathers for Bible Apostolate meeting in Goa

CCBI Commission for Bible members with Bishops during the meeting (Photo supplied)

The Indian Bible Apostolate gathered bishops, priests, religious, and Catholics at the Pilar Animation Centre, Goa, western India from May 17 to 19. 

“The biblical apostolate is our response to the Spirit that reminds us of Jesus and our true Gospel,” said Bishop Antonysamy Peter Abir of Sultanpet and the chairman of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) - Commission for Bible. 

The prelate added, “We must always have unconditional openness to the Spirit and we can sense this when we listen to the Spirit speaking from within the community.”

According to the bishop, "In the context of the Synod (2021-2023) and the changing horizons of the post-pandemic world, the current strategic planning meeting has brought to light the importance of journeying with God's people and the entire humanity." 

Auxiliary Bishop John Rodrigues of Bombay and a member of the CCBI Commission for Bible, welcomed participants.

Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao of Goa-Daman and the CCBI President said the importance of biblical pastoral ministry must be emphasized in light of the pastoral plan of the CCBI, which is only possible through collaboration and networking.

The Commissions shared the activities of their national and regional commissions at the Meeting.

The Strategic Planning Meeting featured presentations by religious and lay representatives. The vision, mission, and objectives of the CCBI Commission for Bible were revised.

Commission members collaborate and network to develop an effective Bible apostolate in India, including biblical and pastoral education, translation, as well as celebrations and inculturation of the Bible.  

There was a discussion of internal and external obstacles to Bible Apostolate. The participants discussed new ways to include Bible Apostolate for children, the differently-abled, the LGBT community, the youth, the professionals (teachers, doctors), and the elderly and sick.  

Collaboration with other churches of various denominations was discussed, including undertaking Electronic Bible Apostolate; for the non-believers; for the poor, the migrants, and the illiterate; and for candidates at seminaries and the houses of religious formation.

Vijayawada Bishop Joseph Raja Rao, a member of the CCBI Commission for Bible, moderated the workshop on networking and collaboration.

There is a need for vertical networking—national, regional, diocesan, parish, Small Christian Community (SCC), family, and individual - as well as a horizontal collaboration - with people of other faiths, and other denominations, Catholics, charismatic groups, and e-evangelists.

Deputy Secretary-General Father Stephen Alathara said, "We need to develop effective strategies to end the poverty of the Word of God as times change."

The CEO of American Technology Consulting - (ATC) publishers, Nigel Fernandes, spoke about the new horizons for Bible apostolate and reaffirmed the importance of involving women and youth in ministry. - Anbu Selvam


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