NBW 2007 PLANS BARED, BIBLE TRACT LAUNCHED
“In the beginning, God said, and it happened. This is the awesome power of God’s Word and the reason why we should begin each year with the celebration of the National Bible Week.” This is what Msgr. Gerry Tapiador, Vicar General of the archdiocese of Novaliches says of the National Bible Week.
The National Bible Week is a yearly celebration supported by Presidential Proclamation Nos. 2242, 44 and 1067, by former Presidents Ferdinand Marcos, Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos, respectively. These leaders recognized the relevance of God’s Word in national governance and enjoin the citizenry to study and use it to mold the spiritual, moral and social fiber of society .
This year’s National Bible Week celebration runs from January 22-28, and National Bible Sunday on January 28. It carries the theme: God’s Word, Standard of Justice and Right Living.
A press conference launching the event was held last January 18, 2007 at the Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila. Former Senate President Jovito Salonga, former DILG Sec. and National Prayer Breakfast Foundation (NPBF) President Joey Lina and Philippine Bible Society (PBS) General Secretary Nora Lucero graced the event. Also included in the panel of speakers were Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) Chairman Bishop Fred Magbanua, PCEC Vice Chairman Bishop Cesar Punzalan III, Archdiocese of Manila Biblical Apostolate Director Fr. Tony Navarrete, and NPBF leader Atty. Jose Villanueva.
A renewed Catholic since 1989, Lina began reading the Bible and used it as “my reference every time I deliver major or minor speeches.” He also recognized that the Word of God is “effective, alive and has a huge effect on people’s lives, especially on transformation.”
For his part, former Senate President Salonga recounted his experiences with the Bible as a young man during the Japanese Occupation, underscoring the importance of sharing the message of God’s Word to others and holding on to God’s promises as written in the Bible.
Meanwhile, Bishop Iniguez recognized the Biblical movement as one of the reasons for the renewal of the Catholic Church, which culminated with the Second Vatican Council.
“So many of the reforms in the Catholic Church now can be traced to that. The Catholic Church, in its effort to be renewed, has once more realized the centrality and significance of the Word of God. And so, the Bible is truly the Word of God alive and active,” he said, adding that much is left to be done “so that the NBW should really be a celebration of the Word of God that will impact on individuals, on families, and on societies.”
Another highlight of the conference was the launching of the Biblical tract Sino ang Dapat Iboto sa Halalan 2007. This Biblical selection, which enumerates ten Bible-based qualities of a righteous leader, will be an invaluable guide for every Filipino as the citizenry again elects their leaders in May.
Mrs. Lucero explained that the main reason for coming out with the said Bible tract is to help in educating the electorate, clarifying that it is in no way a statement of dissatisfaction towards the present goings-on in society. She added that PBS is more interested in helping voters become capable of choosing the right people to govern the country. “
We initially released this Bible tract during the 2004 presidential elections as an education tool to help our people to have a good criteria of the kind of leaders they will choose. And we thought that it would be a continuing commitment of the Bible Society to help in the education of our people,” she said.
Activities slated for the weeklong celebration include an ecumenical kick-off headed by the Episcopal Commission for the Biblical Apostolate (ECBA) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) at the Cuneta Astrodome on January 20.
Fr. Navarrete, who will be spearheading the event, outlined the program they have prepared for the whole day affair. He said he was “pleased that the opening ceremonies would be held in Pasay City.”
“We need the Bible in Pasay, and our theme for the (NBW) celebrations, that is ‘the Standard of Justice and Right Living,’” Navarrete, who is also a parish priest in Pasay City, said.
Another highlight of the festivities is Biblia Fiesta at the Folk Arts Theater on January 27. The whole-day fiesta will feature a Bible Quiz, exhibit, seminars, youth forums, art workshops, storytelling sessions, and a concert featuring some of the country’s top bands and artists.