Share the Word

Catholic News, Trinidad, Saturday, 01 November 2014 22:36
Bible Month begins

By Lara Pickford-Gordon

Share the Word is the theme of Bible Month, being observed in the Archdiocese for the month of November.According to Vicar for Evangelisation Fr Robert Christo, it is being used as a springboard for activities to be rolled out over the next year in support of the Biblical Animation of All Pastoral Life (ABP).

Fr Christo said for too long the word of God has been sidelined. “We became very Eucharist-centric and Mass-centric. People come to Mass late and have the Eucharist and then think it’s alright, but the word of God is supposed to open your appetite to be fed with the Eucharist. You cannot discount the word of God,” he stated.

Referring to Scripture, he said when Jesus met the disciples on the road to Emmaus they did not recognise him even as he quoted from Scripture, but when he broke bread with them their eyes were “opened”. Fr Christo said through this encounter, the word and Eucharist were brought together. He made the observation that the altar for the Eucharist was treated with reverence but not so the lectern where the word of God was read. He argued that “they are both altars”.

ABP is the acronym for Animacion Biblica de la Pastoral, an initiative which began in Latin America. ABP programmes were expected to be launched in all Antilles Episcopal Conference (AEC) dioceses this year, following a decision by the AEC bishops.

A Biblical Pastoral Commission was established locally to guide the process at the parish, vicariate and Archdiocese levels. Fr Glyn Jemmott, who was selected to chair the Commission, had to withdraw because of health issues and Fr Christo has taken over as interim chairman.

Fr Christo told the Catholic News that the AEC bishops have made new evangelisation (with an ABP thrust) and mission “flowing from the bible” their 2013-2015 pastoral priorities. Accompanied by team members Fr Gabriel Julien and Valerie Bethel, he recently participated in an intensive two-week training programme for Multiplying Agents of ABP. Held in Panama, the October 6-17 programme was sponsored by the Episcopal Conferences of Latin American and the Caribbean (CELAM) and the AEC.

Fr Christo said vicariates/parishes have been encouraged to host activities for Bible Month and have been given some suggestions.

A Bible Expo will be held at the St John Vianney and Uganda Martyrs Regional Seminary, Mt St Benedict. Fr Arnold Francis, Principal/Academic Dean of the Seminary Theological Institute, said a “timeline” of the bible would be displayed, along with the various traditions which influenced it. Also on display will be Caribbean translations of the bible, such as the French Creole translation.

Fr Francis said they were trying to locate old translations of the bible, like the Douay-Rheims version, to show how different translations followed each other and why the English version of the bible came about.

Distribution of bibles to parishes across the country was another activity which was currently underway as part of ABP, Fr Christo said. The Biblical Pastoral Commission has made copies available for sale in parishes and 10,000 were purchased by the Archdiocese for distribution.

“Every Catholic Christian should own a bible and open it and read and pray it, and seek counselling, study and meditation,” Fr Christo said.

The bibles for distribution ranged in size and cost and purchasers would receive information on how to “pray the bible” and how to enthrone it, he added. But he stressed: “We are not distributing bibles – that is not the ministry. It is providing prayerful alternatives and formation to make the bible come alive.”

Fr Christo said the bible should be prayed – not read. “The bible is a living presence and it should feed you,” he added.

He noted that the impact of the bible on people would be seen in their lifestyle.

“It has living value for every context,” he said.