Joint Celebration with the


Bangued, Abra. Hundreds of lovers of the Word img_2801.jpgwith their burning hearts inflamed by the “Word of God in human words” gathered together on the 27th “Hearts on Fire” Gospel Festival of the Diocese of Bangued today January 29 on the Feast of St. Joseph Freinademetz, SVD marked as the Philippine SVD Centennial Freinademetz Day. The festive celebration was attended by the SVD-PHN confreres led by the Provincial Superior Fr. Jerome Adriatico, SVD and the District Superior Fr. Cirilo Ortega, SVD, the whole clergy of the diocese led by the Most Rev. Leopoldo Jaucian, SVD DD, the Civil Government Officials led by Hon. & Mrs. Eustaquio P. Bersamin and Hon. Mayor & Mrs. Dominic Valera, representatives from the different parishes and schools, centennial committee members, Chinese Communities, S.Sp.S sisters, the people of God of the Diocese, friends and guests from all over Northern Luzon.

The Gospel Festival organized and managed by Mr. Charles Javier the BA coordinator of img_2792.jpgthe diocese and assisted Fr. Devasagayam Savariyappan, SVD – diocesan BA director started with the celebration of the Word and the Eucharist with Bishop Jaucian as the main celebrant who read the gospel in Chinese and delivered the homily on the life and mission of St. Joseph Freinademetz in China a hundred years ago. The message expounded the theme of the centennial celebration: “Precious is the Life Given for Mission.” After the mass the Opening Ceremonies followed with the welcome address of Fr. Deva and the roll call of delegates by Mr. Charles Javier.

The Biblical Rap Contest that was added recently was colorfully rendered by the different participating schools. Bible passages and stories memorized by heart were portrayed in songs and dances in tunes and body movements in a way that the youth of today finds expression. The Biblical Rap category consumed the remaining hours of the morning session. The Bible Quiz Bee that covered the whole Sacred Scripture with the Old and New Testaments vibrantly occupied the 35 participating schools and institutions who were competing each other on their knowledge and expertise on the Bible… guided by the words of St. Jerome: “Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ.” The Quiz Bee lasted the whole afternoon facilitated by the ICST Abra seminarians with the minor seminarians of St. Joseph taking charge of the score board and assisted by the service team of the Grade School of the Divine Word College of Bangued.


The evening program and competitions includes the production number of the Holy Spirit Academy of Bangued grade school pupils with an array of Guangzhou Chinese Dances bringing the audience some glimpse of the place where St. Joseph Frenademetz wished to give up his life for the Chinese people and even extended his wish to be one with them (a Chinese) in heaven. The Beijing Chinese Dance was rendered by the high school students of the same academy. The Dance Drama Competition based on the life of St. Joseph followed in the program punctuated with the Wuhan Chinese Dance performed by the high school students of the DWCB. Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian, SVD DD gave the message for the night.

The Hearts on Fire 2008 is also considered as an extended celebration of the Diocese of Bangued for the National Bible Week with the theme: “Word of God, source of Justice, Reconciliation and Peace”.

Zusan G. Asistin, JPIBC














Vigan City – January 27, 2008

The Archdiocesan Bible Congress of Nueva Segovia started with a motorcade around the World Heritage City of Vigan led by the Philippine National Police with blaring siren announcing the National Bible Sunday Celebration. Msgr. Gary Somera Formoso the Archdiocesan Bible Director meaningfully led the celebration assisted by the members of the Archdiocesan Bible Apostolate Commission and the Archdiocesan Lay Coordinator Mrs. Agnes Torres of Santiago, Ilocos Sur.

Dr. Frank Macanas expertly functioned as the moderator of the said congress. Rev. Fr. Nick Vaquilar, Bible Professor of the Immaculate Conception School of Theology and Priests’ Assembly President of the archdiocese delivered his talk with expertise and authority on the Theme: Word of God Source of Justice, Reconciliation and Peace.

Fr. Doms O. Ramos, SVD the president of the DWCV and the Director of the John Paul I Biblical Center delivered a message inspiring the participants to take active part on the Biblical Apostolate of the Archdiocese as well as the whole of Northern Luzon. In behalf of the Northern Luzon Commission for the Biblical Apostolate chaired by Bishop Rene P. Mayugba, DD and all the Archdiocesan, Diocesan and Apostolic Vicariate Biblical Directors, Lay Coordinators and Bible Animators we join the participants and organizers in spirit and in prayers.

The congress was convened at the auditorium of the Divine Word College of Vigan and culminated at the St. Paul’s Cathedral with the celebration of the Word and the Eucharist with the Archdiocesan Bible Apostolate director as the celebrant and concelebrated with seven other priests of the archdiocese.







Reported by: Zusan Asistin, JPIBC


resize-of-joel-bugtong.jpgThe John Paul I Biblical Center for Northern Luzon in coordination with the staff and management of the diocesan radio station of Bangued (DZPA – Puso ti Abra) developed a radio program entitled “Hearts on Fire” with the theme: “Sao ti Dios Gubuayan ti Hustisya, Panagpipinnakawan ken Kappia” (God’s Word: Source of Justice, Reconciliation and Peace). This daily radio program for the whole National Bible Week started being aired in ten radio stations all over Northern Luzon yesterday January 21 until January 27, 2008.

The following are the daily topics:

Day 1: The Message for the National Bible Week and Bible Sunday – a circular letter of the Episcopal Commission for the Biblical Apostolate of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines prepared by the chairman of the commission Most Rev. Arturo M. Bastes, SVD DD – bishop of Sorsogon.

Day 2: The different Biblical Apostolate programs and activities of the JPIBC for Northern Luzon,

Day 3: The decisions and resolutions of the 43rd Board of Directors Meeting in Baguio City focused on the Biblical Apostolate programs and activities for Northern Luzon. This board prepared every member for the coming Interim Regional Workshop on Lineamenta, the working papers for the coming Synod of Bishops on the Word of God.

Day 4: Reports and sharing of the different Archdioceses, dioceses and apostolic vicariates on their programs and activities in spreading the Word of God through the Biblical Apostlate in their own areas of apostolate.

Day 5: Continuation of the sharing in day 4 covering the remaining archdiocesan, diocesan and apostolic vicariates’ programs and activities of their Biblical Apostolate.

Day 6: The Interim Regional Workshop on Lineamenta: sharing on the reflections of Northern Luzon, working papers for the Synod of Bishops 2008. On this same day the Seminar Workshop on the Biblical Figures organized by ECBA-CBCP conducted by German resource persons and held at the JPIBC last October 2007. The seminar workshop was of its first kind here in the whole Philippines.

Day 7: The 17th National Biblical Workshop in Cagayan de Oro City on February 11-15, 2008 together with the 5th Biblical Workshop of the Catholic Biblical Federation of Southeast Asia with the same theme: “Word of God: Source of Justice, Reconciliation and Peace”.

The National Bible Week Celebrations of Northern Luzon are being aired and broadcasted over the following Radio Stations:

  1. DZPA – Abra at 7:30 – 8:00 in the evening covering the whole of Cordilleras and heared also in the lowlands like the whole province of Ilocos Sur and part of the province of La Union.
  2. DZNS – Nueva Segovia covering the whole of Ilocandia, heared over the provinces of Abra, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and parts of Pangasinan.
  3. Laoag –
  4. San Fernando –
  5. DWDU – Urdaneta – A community radio station broadcasting over the whole City of Urdaneta and its neighboring towns of the province of Pangasinan.
  6. Lingayen-Dagupan
  7. Baguio –
  8. Tuguegarao –
  9. DZRV Bayombong at 9:30 – 10:00 am broadcasting over Nueva Vizcaya, part of Cagayan Valley, Nueva Ecija and some parts of the Cordilleras.
  10. DZWM Alaminos aired at 1:30 to 2:00 pm broadcasting over the whole Province of Pangasinan, La Union, some parts of Zambales and Tarlac.

For those who have no radio stations like Isabela – the recorded radio program will be played in all the parishes, communities, chapels and BECs through their CD players.

We express our gratitude to our radio talents: Ms. Merla Ruiz the manager of DZPA, Mr. Charles Javier the diocesan Biblical Coordinator, Fr. Efren Ambre the vice chairman of the Northern Luzon Commission for the Biblical Apostolate. Yours truly Mr. Joel Bugtong composed, developed and produced the script of the said whole week radio program for the Spread of the Good News in Northern Luzon!

Reported by:

Joel M. Bugtong, JPIBC


resize-of-zusan-asistin.jpgToday we start with the celebration of the National Bible Week. The Northern Luzon Commission for the Biblical Apostolate joins every Archdiocese, Diocese and Apostolic Vicariates in their activities, bible week programs, gospel festivals, hearts on fire, bible parades, bible congresses, radio bible programs and other activities in consonance with the celebration.

In the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia, Msgr. Gary Somera Formoso the Archdiocesan Director for the Biblical Apostolate together with Mrs. Agnes Torres organized an Archdiocesan Bible Congress to be attended by all of the parishes of the archdiocese. The Archdiocesan Bible Congress will be convened this coming January 27, 2008 at the Divine Word College of Vigan.


Meanwhile, the Diocese of Bangued is preparing for an earlier celebration of the Diocesan Gospel Festival popularly known as the “Hearts on Fire” with Mr. Charles Javier the Diocesan Lay Biblical Coordinator on the lead. This year’s Hearts on Fire will be celebrated on January 29, 2008 at the Divine Word College of Bangued.

In the Diocese of Alaminos, the Commission for the Biblical Apostolate headed by the Biblical Director Fr. Aries Mina will conduct a symposium on the theme of the Bible Week celebration on Sunday, January 27, 2008 in the afternoon. Invited participants were included PNP (Philippine National Police) officers and government officials.

The Diocese of Ilagan spearheaded by the Commission for the Biblical Apostolate, Biblical Coordinator Mrs. Irene Ortiz will be having a parish level competition to celebrate the Bible Week on the following activities. There will be poster, collage, slogan making, essay writing, locating text, dramatic reading of the Bible, Bible song composition as well as Bible Quiz.

Participants were categorized in three levels; such as the elementary, high school and the adults.

Winners in the parish level will compete in the Diocesan Bible celebration on Saturday, January 26, 2008 at the Cathedral.

Likewise, in anticipation on the celebration of the National Bible Week 2008, the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan started its Archdiocesan celebration on the first Sunday with Bible Enthronement. On the second Sunday celebration, it is the Youth on the Bible, it is about Family Activities on the third Sunday. Simultaneously, the staff of the commission for the Biblical Apostolate will facilitate Basic Bible Seminar in two parishes within the celebration of the Bible Week. And on the National Bible Sunday, January 27, 2008, the Archdiocese will launch its First Archdiocesan Family Bible Quiz.

 Though the Diocese of San Fernando de La Union will not celebrate Bible week in the diocese level, Fr. Julius BAncifra, the Biblical Apostolate Director will organize a gathering to celebrate the bible week  spearheaded by another religious organization the PREX family in his parish, the Our Lady of Perpetual Help on Wednesday night, January 23, 2008

According to Miss Virginia Godoy, the Vicariate Biblical Apostolate Coordinator of the Apostolic Vicariate of Tabuk, a must-be-activities for the celebration of the Bible Week 2008 in their place will be a Bible Prayer and a Bible Study.

(This NBW 2008 report will be updated once the JPIBC receives the account from other Archdioces, Dioceses and Apostolic Vicariates from all over Northern Luzon. Kindly watch for the updates. )

with reports;

Zusan Asistin, JPIBC




January 27, 2008  

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines

Episcopal Commission for the Biblical Apostolate

Intramuros, Manila  

THEME: God’s Word: Source of Justice, Reconciliation and Peace

Scripture Texts: (Micah 6:8; 2Cor. 5:17-20) 

)Dear brothers and sisters, 

The verse of Micah 6:8 is one of the loftiest passages in the Bible: “You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: to do what is just, to show constant love, and to walk humbly with your God”. The people ask the Prophet Micah how they can atone for their sins. Do they come before Yahweh with “burnt offerings” and “calves,” “thousands of rams,” “ten thousand rivers of oil,” and the “sacrifice of their first-born?” The prophet’s answer is that God’s demand is not for more and more offerings but for the doing of justice, the pursuit of kindness or steadfast love for our brothers and sisters and the exercise of humble piety before the Lord.  

Hence, God demands first of all MORALITY from human persons in the practice of religion. In his reply Micah provides a perfect summary of the teaching of the great 8th century prophets: Amos on justice and righteousness, Hosea on steadfast love, and Isaiah on faith and obedience. More over this verse gives classic statement also to the priestly teaching in the Old Testament regarding the “whole duty of man” as found in the Psalms (e.g. Ps 24:3-6; 40:6-8; 50:7-15). This passage is not a rejection of liturgical rites and ceremonies in favor of the in tangible virtue of character. What it teaches clearly is that God has a total claim over the whole of man’s life, touching on his moral relationship with Him and his fellow human beings. Hence, no amount of external offerings or elaborate rites, however great and splendid, can replace man’s essential duty and obligation to do what is right and just for his fellow human beings, to love them with great tenderness and to live in union with God in true humility and the spirit of obedience to all His commands. 

Should one ask what is the criterion or norm for such a life of justice, love, humility and obedience, the prophet Micah has already pointed to it with the reminder: “You have been told, O man, what is good,” that is, God’s saving acts, recited previously, are precisely the standard for the human being, who has faith in Him, the true God. What God himself has done provides the inspiration for human justice, fidelity and man’s whole walk in life. In the Bible the “indicative mood” gives rise to the “imperative mood,” meaning, what God has done suggests what men and women ought to do. This classic verse of the Prophet Micah is a fine example of how God’s Word is really a source of “justice”, whose moral notion is very broad in the Bible, extending to the total observance of all God’s commandments, whose essence is love for Him and for our neighbor.

Our Christian country should be a model of justice as taught to us by the prophets. The fundamental element of justice is that it gives every person his/her due and what belongs to him/her by right. Sad to say, there is a glaring state of injustice in our nation where so many Filipinos remain oppressed, marginalized, destitute and deprived of their rights as human beings who are equal in dignity as children of God. Perhaps it can be said that the cause of injustice in our land could be the way we practice religion, which is not profound enough, not touching our hearts, consisting only in the observance of external rites.

This is what the prophets and our Lord Jesus precisely condemn. We do well to remind ourselves what God, through the verse quoted above, wants us to do if we have true faith in Him manifested by a genuine practice of religion. Only if we fulfill what God requires of us, marvelously summarized by Micah, can we eliminate injustice in our midst. Injustice, a situation where human persons are not given what is due to them, causes division, conflicts and even fratricide. The insurgency that has been going in our country for 38 years, the deep political rupture and the pervading economic inequality are among the signs that our country is in a situation of injustice. We have been longing for peace, the biblical “shalom”, which does not mean only the absence of war or trouble but the enjoyment of all what is good, a foreshadowing of the dawning of God’s kingdom. But peace cannot take place unless we are fully reconciled to God and to all our brothers and sisters.

Already within the Old Testament, God has prefigured the reconciliation of human beings with Himself in not ceasing to offer them His pardon. He is “the God of tenderness and of pity” (Ex. 34:6). But the perfect and definitive reconciliation has been accomplished by Jesus Christ, for it is an important aspect of Christ’s work of redemption. By Christ’s redemption we have be come a new creation, fully reconciled to God as St. Paul says: “So who ever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:17-20). 

On God’s part the entire work of salvation and reconciliation is already accomplished. However, reconciliation among human beings is far from being accomplished. Thus St. Paul defines apostolic activity as “the ministry of reconciliation”, which may last till the final coming of God’s kingdom. Following the example of St. Paul, Christians must ever be mindful of the “ministry of reconciliation”, making great efforts to be the architects of peace among all brothers and sisters, bringing them into full harmony with God through the redeeming act of Christ. The profound demand of this reconciliation is this: the sinner reconciled by God cannot render to Him a pleasing worship or sacrifice if he does not first of all reconcile himself with his fellow human beings (Mt. 5, 23 f). 

For our country to achieve peace or “shalom”, the elusive dream of our land, all Filipinos must learn how to reconcile with each other, forgiving one another from their hearts just as “God no longer takes account of the trespasses of men” (cf. 2Cor. 5:20). But full reconciliation will take place only when we do what God re quires us: to do what is right, to show constant love and to walk humbly with Him. May Mary, “the mirror of justice”, intercede for us so that our country will finally enjoy the peace of all God’s children.  

Most Rev. Arturo M. Bastes, SVD DD

Bishop of Sorsogon

Episcopal Commission for the Biblical Apostolate

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines 



 CBF-SEA BA Link 2008 – 3

Dear friends in the Word,
Since last September 15th we have been enjoying our CBF-SEA Website


which has been set up by Fr. Dominador (Doms) Ramos, SVD and Star. Fr. Doms is almost always online, always available to continually and cheerfully update our web together with Star. Every time we can find new surprises because of their creativity and dedication. Tomorrow, January 18th, will be his 51st birthday. Let us thank and praise our good Lord for his life which has been a great blessing for us, CBF-SEA. And let us pray that he continue his service to the Church as a faithful and joyful Servant of the Word, a blessing for all!


The Society of the Divine Word – Philippine Northern Province re-elected yesterday afternoon January 14, 2008 at the Provincialate in Pindangan, San Fernando City Rev. Fr. Jerome Adriatico, SVD as Provincial Superior for another term of three years. Rev. Fr. Reynaldo Jimenez, SVD was elected as the Vice Provincial Superior with Rev. Fr. Bernard Teneza, SVD as the Provincial Admonitor. Rev. Fr. Dameanus Abun, SVD and Rev. Fr. Cirilo Ortega, SVD were elected by the provincial assembly as councilors.

Sixty three SVD missionaries all over Northern Luzon gathered together in the morning of the same day to do their community recollection in preparation for the provincial election with Most Rev. Arturo Bastes, SVD DD bishop of Sorsogon as their recollection guide. The recollection ended with the celebration of the word and the eucharist with Rev. Fr. Jerome Adriatico, SVD as the main celebrant with the Most Rev. Artemio Rillera, SVD DD the bishop of San Fernando and Most Rev. Arturo Bastes, SVD DD as concelebrants.

We pray for the newly elected SVD-PHN Provincial Council for a better Witnessing to the Word in Northern Luzon.


A thanksgiving mass will be celebrated today at 9:00 o’clock in the morning – on the feast of St. Arnold Janssen the founder of the congregation when the new members of the SVD-PHN Provincial Council will be installed.

Reported by: JPIBC