(Fr. Doms O. Ramos, SVD)

The Board of Directors of the Northern Luzon Commission for the Biblical Apostolate and the John Paul I Biblical Center, the premier Biblical Center of the Philippines recently held their annual meeting at the Philippine Bible Society’s Sanctuary in 43rd-bod-baguio-2.jpgBaguio City last August 6-7, 2007. The Bishop Chairman, Most Rev. Renato P. Mayugba, DD, Auxiliary Bishop of Lingayen-Dagupan presided over the meeting assisted by the Executive Secretary, Fr. Dominador O. Ramos, SVD, Director of the JPIBC. Thirty (30) BA directors, coordinators and representatives of four congregations of Northern Luzon were present making this meeting as one of the most attended so far for years. The meeting opened with the Celebration of the Word and the Eucharist with Bishop Mayugba as the main celebrant. It was the feast of the Transfiguration. During the mass the directors were grouped by threes (triad) where they shared in a Lectio Divina way their life and mission, their “disfiguration” and “transfiguration” as BA directors of their Archdiocese, Diocese, Apostolic Vicariate and Religious Congregations like the SIHM, SFIC, OSB and SVD.

Progress reports, problems and challenges of doing Biblical Apostolate were shared by the Directors fresh from the field of mission. Programs, activities, modules, seminars, workshops, bible festivals, radio programs, bible institutes, meaningful distribution of bibles, and the like constitute the Sacred Scripture in the Life of the Church of Northern Luzon.

Highlights of the two-day meeting were:

1. Welcoming of the newly appointed, elected and installed Board of Directors – like Fr. Fidelis Layog of Lingayen-Dagupan, Sr. Beata Balaso, SIHM of Baguio, Fr. Devasgayam Savariyappan, SVD of Bangued, Fr. Danilo Ulep of Tuguegarao and the sub-regional coordinators of Northern Luzon.

2. JPIBC Updates – programmes, seminars, formation, staff, registration of the center to the SEC, etc. The Director of the John Paul I Biblical Center for Northern Luzon rendered a report on the activities of the biblical center. Hard copies of the reports were distributed to the Directors that included the accomplishment report of the Word Alive Biblical Institute for this year, the hard-bound proceedings of the last regional biblical workshop and the journal of the WABI 2007. He also reported about the official website of JPIBC – – where news, reports, letters, workshops and all other concerns pertaining to the Biblical Apostolate are being published. Updates on the publications of the Biblical Center were also shared.

3. Reports on the 23rd Regional Biblical Workshop in Alaminos – The Directors shared about the follow up of the regional workshop on how they implement the resolutions and commitments to the diocesan level and to the parishes as well.

4. Follow up on the Final Statement – Alaminos Workshop – the final statement spells out the commitment of the regional directors:

 to a grateful fidelity to THE WORD OF GOD as revealed and contained in SACRED SCRIPTURES and as lived and proclaimed by SACRED TRADITION;

 to a more biblically inspired and nourished liturgical life;

 to actively collaborate in the promotion of BECs that are regularly and intensively formed by the WORD OF GOD and nourished by the EUCHARIST for social transformation that is specially concerned in promoting the common good and the showing solidarity with the poor;

 to explore creative ways of bringing the WORD OF GOD to all – young and old – in ways and means that put to use indigenous and simple materials and such methods of communication that are relevant and entertaining;

5. Dei Verbum Course in Nemi, Rome on September 10-December 10, 2007. There are three candidates from Northern Luzon for this year’s International Course on the Biblical Pastoral Ministry in Nemi, Rome, Italy: Fr. Armand Quindo of the Apostolic Vicariate of Tabuk, Mr. Joel M. Bugtong of the John Paul I Biblical Center and Ms. Silvana de Vera of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan. The three are now accepted by the admission board and now working on their visa application.

6. Seminar on Biblical Figures on October 15-20, 2007 – The first Seminar on Biblical Figures will be hosted by Northern Luzon to be held at the Immaculate Conception School of Theology. This seminar is open to all those who are interested in making biblical figures that could be used for biblical catechesis, catechetical instructions, counseling, spiritual accompaniment and the like other than Bibliodrama seminars. The facilitators will come from Germany who invented the use of the biblical dolls in Bibliodrama: Sr. Ines Schmiegel and Frau Susanne Uteschil.

7. Special Regional Biblical Workshop for Northern Luzon on October 15-17, 2007 at the Immaculate Conception School of Theology in Vigan City. The Bishop Chairman will convene this regional workshop to prepare the whole region for the coming big events in the biblical apostolate: local – 24th Regional Workshop, nationwide – 17th National Workshop in February 2008 and worldwide- CBF Plenary Assembly in Tanzania, Africa in June 2008 and Synod of Bishops on the Word of God, Rome in October 2008. The next regular regional workshop will be hosted by the Diocese of Urdaneta on October, 2008.

8. National Bible Week and National Bible Sunday 2008. Representatives from the Philippine Bible Society (PBS) headed by Mr. Emil A. Ballesteros shared to the Directors the theme, activities and posters of the coming National Bible Week January 21-27, 2008 and National Bible Sunday January 27, 2008 with the theme: God’s Word: Source of Justice, Reconciliation, and Peace. The PBS representatives likewise introduced their new products like: 1). The BEC Youth Bible featuring the BEC Gospel sharing methods, and other notes that will help the youth understand the Bible. 2). The PAGLALAKBAY BIBLE for the OFWs. This is the first bible to be developed for the Overseas Filipino Workers.

9. The 17th National Biblical Workshop in Cagayan de Oro City on February 15-19, 2008. The Directors were encouraged to attend the coming National Workshop with the same theme of the NBW and NBS: God’s Word: Source of Justice, Reconciliation, and Peace

10. Formation Program – Word Alive Biblical Institute 2007. The Institute for the Lay Ministers of the Word for Northern Luzon was successfully administered with a total of 60 participants from Northern Luzon, from Manila and as far as Davao. Copies of the accomplishment report on WABI prepared by JPIBC were given to the Directors.

11. ECBA-CBCP Updates: Fr. Oscar Alunday, SVD the Executive Secretary of the Episcopal Commission for the Biblical Apostolate of CBCP updated the Directors on the news, trends and programs of ECBA nationwide. He just arrived from Cagayan de Oro to check on the developments of the preparations of the coming National Workshop. The Executive Secretary commended on the efforts of the Directors of Northern Luzon rendering the region as the most active region in the Biblical Apostolate throughout the whole archipelago.

12. CBF 7th Plenary Assembly in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Africa – June 24 to July 3, 2008. Fr. Alunday continued to talk about the coming Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Biblical Federation. Representatives from CBF’s associate members like the OSB, SIHM, SFIC, SVD and JPIBC were encouraged to attend the assembly. Every six years the CBF members meet for their Plenary Assembly. These regular meetings are highpoints in the life of the Federation, and they do offer a unique place of encounter and exchange among people engaged in biblical pastoral ministry from all over the world. During a Plenary Assembly participants not only pray together and reflect together on the Word of God, but new ideas are also presented, materials and experiences exchanged and new initiatives developed, which often transcend national as well as continental borders. The Plenary Assemblies are important stages along the way to the goal of the Federation – to make God’s Word available to as many people as possible. The theme of the Seventh Plenary Assembly is “Word of God: Source of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace” and it will be supplemented by biblical reference texts from Isaiah and Mt 5-7.

13. Synod of Bishops on the Word of God: Vatican, October 5-26, 2008. The XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will be dedicated to the theme: “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.” The Pope’s decision to make this the Synod’s theme is warmly greeted by the Catholic Biblical Federation. One of its central concerns will thereby be addressed. Fr. Alunday encouraged each one to read and reflect the Lineamenta and make possible comments and suggestions.

14. Word Alive Online Newsletter. Mr. Louie M. Metra, the Corporate Regional Business Manager of PLDT for Northern Luzon was invited to present to the Directors alternatives for internet connections. Weroam and Smart Broadband are the possible solutions for those who do not have the facility of landline connections. The Northern Luzon Commission for the Biblical Apostolate encouraged each Director to make avail with the modern means of Information Technology for faster communications, networking, coordination, data and document transfers etc. Weroam or Smart Broadband offers alternative solutions. Word Alive Newsletter is now online:

15. Other business matters: Bible Week Collecta, Bishops’ Annual contribution, etc.

Northern Luzon comprises 14 ecclesiastical jurisdictions: the Archdioceses of Tuguegarao, Nueva Segovia, Lingayen-Dagupan, the Dioceses of Laoag, San Fernando de La Union, Urdaneta, Alaminos, Bayombong, Ilagan, Prelature of Batanes; the Cordilleras that include: the Dioceses of Bangued and Baguio, the Apostolic Vicariates of Bontoc-Lagawe and Tabuk.

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