The 26th Hearts on Fire – Abra Gospel Festival was celebrated yesterday February 11, 2007 at the Divine Word College of Bangued Gynasium in Bangued, Abra, Philippines attended by hundreds of youth, children, parents, teachers, religious congregations, minor and major seminarians, priests and guests. This yearly Gospel Festival is one of the most attended Gospel Festivals in Northernimg_1664.JPG Luzon. For 26 years now, the “Hearts on Fire” continue to burn our hearts like what the two disciples experienced on the road to Emmaus when Jesus journeyed with them and explained the Sacred Scriptures. After celebrating its Silver Jubilee Anniversary last year the festival is getting stronger than ever under the leadership of Mr. Charles Javier the lay biblical coordinator of the Diocese of Bangued and Fr. Efren Ambre the diocesan biblical apostolate director and at the same time the recently elected vice chairman of the board of directors of the Northern Luzon Commission for the Biblical Apostolate and the John Paul I Biblical Center for Northern Luzon.

The Gospel Festival started with the enthronement of the bible followed by the celebration of the word and the eucharist with Msgr. Nilo Peig (administrator of the diocese) as the main celebrant. Colorful Pop Dance and Philippine Dances introduced the program proper by the students of the Holy Spirit Academy of Bangued with the choral presentation of the Parents-Teachers Association of the same school. Competitions followed like: Bible Poster Making Contest, biblical rap, dance drama and bible quiz bee from 38 participating schools from the upland and lowland parishes. This year’s theme is in line with the National Bible Week Celebration “God’s Word: Standard of Justice and Right Living”. Constests were focused on the Gospels of John and Luke and the Old Testament’s 1 & 2 Samuel.

Biblical Rap was the most appreciated part of the contest when the youth displayed their talents and ability in singing and dancing together with their cyber-inspired body language the gospel stories they memorized by heart. Its amazing how biblical rap draw img_1671.JPGcrowds of youth these days using their language. The Youth evangelizing the Youth. The Sacred Scriptures entering into the language and culture of the youth is a phenomenon experienced during the celebration and one could only imagine the influence of the Word after the event. The biblical dance drama did some magnificent and varied reactions from the spectators as well as the participants. It was like “Lectio Divina” on stage where hundreds of people witnessed the gospel events unfolding right in front of their eyes. The biblical rap and the biblical dance drama are samples of the CREATIVE BIBLICAL ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH developed by Mr. Charles Javier the director of the Hearts on Fire.

Congratulations to all those who were involved in the realization of the 26th Hearts on Fire… the Word is Alive….

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