Bibliodrama

BIBLIODRAMA EXPERIENCES

IN THE BIBLICAL AND SCHOOL APOSTOLATES

(Fr. Doms O. Ramos, SVD)

I. Introduction:

The fastest six years of my life was one of the most challenging yet fulfilling years that is now coming to an end when the mission term is almost over. It was May 15, 2002 when I started my privileged journey with the John Paul I wika_167Biblical Center for Northern Luzon as its director. My first 3-year term was spent in adjustments and real hard work around region 1, parts of region 2 and the whole of the Cordilleras covering fourteen Archdioceses, Dioceses, Apostolic Vicariates and a Prelature. The second 3-year term was combined with being deeply involved in the school apostolate over and above the Biblical Apostolate as president of the Divine Word College of Vigan. The two gargantuan missions and responsibilities could not be commendable without the inspiration and the strength drawn from the Word of God that makes one approximate himself to be a “Witness to the Word”. “One who is committed to know, live out and proclaim God’s Word for the transformation of the world” (DWEA). Before I close those years of experiences with the school and the biblical apostolates by May 15, 2008, I wish to share something aside from retracing and evaluating the footsteps that marked those fastest six years particularly: on the Bibliodrama Experiences in both the Biblical Apostolate and School Campus.

II. Pastoral and Academic Understanding of Bibliodrama

 

A. The Biblical Apostolate: Bibliodrama described as a close encounter with the Word in flesh and in the Sacred Scripture greatly changed the landscape of doing Biblical Apostolate in Northern Luzon. As Lectio Divina on stage – one is challenged as well as facilitated to connect the Alive Word with doing, expressing, manifesting and living towards transformation of oneself and the Basic Ecclesial Communities. The stages on Lectio, Meditatio, Oratio, Contemplatio, Actio and Collatio are now uniquely helped and enhanced by the elements of Bibliodrama in such a way that the movements from one stage to the other are expressed in bodily language defined by one’s indigenous culture. Bibliodrama then has become a dynamic channel in drawing the richness and life-giving message of the Good News in the life and mission of the disciple of the Word towards building a community founded on the word of God. With this kind of approach and understanding, Bibliodrama then has become a nourishing tool in the development of doing Biblical Apostolate in Northern Luzon and the Cordilleras.

 

B. The School Apostolate: Bibliodrama in the academe as experienced by the presidents, directors, principals, faculty and students is revealing, connecting, making and augmenting the primal role of the Book of Life (Sacred Scripture) towards integral formation of each individual member of the academic community. The drama of the academic life unfolds in the light of the drama of the economy of salvation as foundation of the total transformation of every individual in the academe bolstered by the Bibliodrama experience. The meaningful connection with the written word and life is intricately facilitated by Bibliodrama elements during seminars, conventions, recollections, retreats and even classroom instruction.

 

Bibliodrama then helps one realize as Witness to the Word be it in the Biblical Apostolate or in the School Campus!

 

 

III. Practical Applications

 

A. The Biblical Apostolate: The John Paul I Biblical Center developed the world renowned Basic Bible Seminar (BBS). The BBS is an introductory course on Sacred Scripture for all levels of the faithful. It consists of group activities, conferences and celebrations geared towards making the Bible one’s basic prayer book and book of life and geared towards building Christian communities based on the Word of God. Since the introduction of the Bibliodrama to Northern Luzon, the BBS experienced a great leap in making the seminars livelier, more dynamic and deeper approach in conducting activities, conferences and celebrations. The Bibliodrama music and dances deepened the understanding of every participant from welcoming activities until the commissioning program. Because of the Bibliodrama the BBS is never the same again.

 

B. The School Apostolate: As chapter president of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) leading 16 schools in Ilocos Sur and president of the Association of Private Schools, Colleges and Universities (APSCU) serving 42 member institutions of the same province introducing the Bibliodrama to the academe finds a widely open door. It found entry into academic communities through official meetings of school heads when they gave priority to their spiritual life over administrative and supervisory functions. It was surprising that the APSCU and not the CEAP schools were longing for such on-going spiritual formation founded on the Word of “Transcendent Being” inscribed in the Bible. Business meetings then of the school heads started with an input on the Word of God assisted by Bibliodrama Elements until the CEAP school heads decided to undergo the full Bibliodrama Seminar conducted by the staff of the John Paul I Biblical Center. The experience was followed by recollections, retreats, and seminars of students, faculty members and administrators with the aid of Bibliodrama elements not only in the said province but the whole of Northern Luzon.

 

IV. Personal Discoveries

 

A. For myself: Bibliodrama elements helped me to be more immersed with the written word. It opened my understanding on how a little or insignificant word or thing seems to be in the Sacred Scripture yet speaks a lot in arriving to a more intense experience with the word. How a word could unleash one’s life experience is one thing unique with the Bibliodrama. I discovered that a person could touch at the bottom of his/her life through the richness of the word that comes alive and gives him/her that active participation in a story from the Bible. Becoming a part of the story, one is drawn closer to the source – to the way, the truth and the life. The Bible story becomes the life story of the person. One becomes consumed actually with that powerful encounter with the Word.

 

B. In the ministry: The interplay between the Biblical and School Apostolates is amazing. I discovered that the two big responsibilities when combined could make a big impact in the spread of the word. I was privileged to witness on the harmonious interaction between the two: on the part of the school linking with the bible center and helping it realize its mission by providing a venue while the biblical apostolate fills in the needs of the school in realizing its mission towards integral formation. In the Biblical Apostolate the people who hunger for the word; Bibliodrama provides a deeper understanding to their experience. From their experience the people long for the light of the word. It is from life experience towards intellectual understanding while in the school setting the academic or intellectual assent with the word is drawn towards the life-giving experience with the word. In the BA then the flow starts with experience and ends with intellectual assent, in school setting the intellect is fed that flows towards experience in life.

Fr. Doms, SVD

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A BIBLIODRAMA EXPERIENCE

“Take Heart; Get Up, He is calling you…”

March 8-10, 2006, the teachers of St. Teresita’s School in Pinukpuk, Kalinga invited the JPIBC Staff to facilitate a three-day Bibliodrama Retreat Workshop at the SVD District House, in Cljoel-bugtong.jpgaveria Cagayan. This experience was helpful to the participants for they were able to meditate and reflect on the Word of God. Having undergone the activities and features of Bibliodrama, they became more aware of their weaknesses and failures. They began to open their hearts and minds especially in sharing their experiences based on the Word. The activity was actually instrumental in knowing and understanding themselves as well as the others. This was articulated in their sharing after the Lectio Divina, and especially during the Pastoral Dialogue.

Moreover, there was also an evocative celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation where a meaningful exchange of peace was done through offering of candle first to a friend, then to the one they want to befriend and a third candle to the one they wan to be at peace with. A simple act that spells out : “Take Heart; He is calling you!” With a burning desire, they ended the Bibliodrama with the following resolutions: “Why deny ourselves of any opportunity to set aside a time to rest with the Lord on holy ground? Why not withdraw from the daily web that keeps going and to heal our woundedness. The world is too much for us.”Being part of this wonderful experience, it moved me as a facilitator to aspire more and commit myself to do better in the service of John Paul I Biblical Center.

I amgrateful with the good companionship with the JPIBC staff especially to my co-facilitators, Ms. Felicidad Perpetua J. Gines, Fr. Dominador O. Ramos, SVD, our director of the biblical center; and my big thanks to Fr. Romeo Benitez, SVD and his teachers for the journey, making the Word alive also in me!

Joel M. Bugtong

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WHAT IS BIBLIODRAMA

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Bibliodrama

Is an intensive confrontation with a Scripture text (story) in which the participants come to know better themselves and their world by trying to discover themselves and the world in which they live in and through the Scripture text.

With the help of a facilitator the group tries to enter into a text: assisted by the facilitator through conversations, interviews, gestures, acting and taking into account one’s social situation and culture, each participant eventually finds a particular place in the biblical narrative. In this way, a personal relationship is developed, its depths are discovered and the text comes alive.

The impact of Bibliodrama on a holistic approach is a process which draws its spiritual power from LISTENING TO THE WORD OF GOD with ear, heart, hand and intellect. In this way the Word of God can bring about an inner transformation and create a spiritual fertility by giving life and by enabling to pass life on to others.

Originating from Europe, it utilizes various theater forms like dances, vignette, play and other exercises to enable one to be in touch with the Word.

With ample moments of silence, reflection and processing, it seeks to discover the richness of the Scriptures allowing text and one’s own life to meet

With time for faith and life sharing and celebrating the Word in liturgies. It seeks to build community through the Word and celebrate fullness of life with others

The main steps within the Bibliodrama:

Presentation of the biblical text or search for the text

The facilitator presents a selected biblical text or he/she starts a process in which the group searches for a text with which each participant can identity or feel at ease with.

Staging (finding his/her role)

The facilitator assists the participants in choosing his/her role, in accepting it, feeling it during the play and living it and finally in reflecting on his/her Bibliodrama experience.

Integration

Bringing about the link between the text, the experience of the play and the everyday life situation (the link between exegesis and life knowledge).

Encounter

Discovering, getting to know and deepening the various forms of inner and outer space: balancing closeness and distance, empathy and protection of self, perception of self and perception by others.

Open (vulnerable) Religiosity

Stimulating spontaneity and creativity so that the participants can express this religiosity on a personal level and in contact with others.

The Bibliodrama works on four levels: the cognitive level (knowledge), emotional level (feeling), spiritual level (adoration) and the social level (action).

Bibliodrama is not a show for others to watch but it is a happening in which the participants themselves experience the Word physically, emotionally, spiritually and socially.

 

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One Response

  1. Hi! is bibliodrama something similar to psychodrama? I’m amazed with this and I want to be trained with it so that I could also teach it to the youth.

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