Bible Society Fetes Bicol Translators, Reviewers in Joint Celebration
The Philippine Bible Society paid tribute to the 16 men and women from the Bicol region who contributed to the translation of the Bible in their heart language during the joint celebration of the centenary of the Bicol Bible translation and the 115th anniversary of the Bible Society last November 27, 2014 in Naga City.
PBS President and Chairman retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno was joined onstage by PBS Chairman Emeritus Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes, PBS Trustees Bishop Noel Pantoja, Dr. Nati Pagadut, Mrs, Leonila Cruz, Dr. Cristina Mañabat, Bishop Lito Cruz, Mrs. Maloi Malibiran-Salumbides, and Bishop Jonel Milan, PBS General Secretary Dr. Nora Lucero, and Caceres Archbishop Rolando Tirona, to present the plaques of recognition to translator Rev. Esther Tud, and the families of translators Rev. David Asurto, Rev. Jesse Galias, Rev. Agripina Moralde, and Rev. Homer Clavecilla.
The 78-year-old pastor of the Iriga City-based Church of God World Missions was elated by the recognition. “I didn’t realize then how important our (translation) work was. I thought that we simply translated the Bible, then, that’s it,” she said. She also “praised God for how He has and continues to use their work to bring glory to His holy name.”
Meanwhile, in welcoming the participants to the celebration, Dr. Lucero stressed the importance of God’s Word, reiterating its relevance in “modern times as ours.” “When we face utter poverty; when we the world causes us physical, emotional, and spiritual wounds; when the world seems to crumble around us, God’s Word provides guidance, healing, and strength,” she said.
Similarly, Chief Justice Puno and Archbishop Tirona both exhorted on the value of God’s Word in the lives of the audience, composed of representatives from the eight pillars society — Arts, Media, Business, Church, Government, Education, Police and Military, and Science and Technology.
In his message, the retired chief magistrate called the Bible “the unerring, unfailing guide in our lives,” which “can provide us the reliable anchor in life.”
He underscored the need for Christians to prepare to face the challenges and battles of the times. “And there is no other way to face these problems than to find their prescriptions in the Holy Bible, which contains God’s worldviews. In the Bible, God reveals Himself to man, and reveals His moral standards to us.”
“Hence through the Bible, we can know the present, we can know the past, we can know the future,” he emphasized, adding that, ”through the Bible we can know both the foreword and afterword of life itself.”
For his part, Archbishop Tirona pointed out that God’s Word “defines one’s identity, provides inspiration and leads one to creative and transformative action.”
“The Word of God affirms and makes alive the primordial identity of a person who has been made in the image and likeness of God. As it is imbued with the creative spirit of the Creator, it gives us inspiration that provides moral and spiritual strength to overcome forces of evil. It also injects in us the spirit of courage and perseverance to pursue noble goals of creative transformation,” he explained.
Archbishop Tirona also recognized the work of the Bible Society over the years and those of the Bicol translators. “Let us honor them by pledging our fidelity and commitment to the proclamation of the Bible at all times,” he said.
Also part of the program was a short lecture by Publishing Manager Rev. Dr. Edgar Ebojo, tracing the origins of the Bible from its original languages of Hebrew and Greek to its translation in the Bicol language in 1914, and the improvements made on the translation in the succeeding decades.
The program, which was hosted by Archdiocese Biblical Director Fr. Philip Francis Bersabe and local broadcaster Chusie Aguilar, was punctuated by meaningful performances by the local performing talents, Kamerata Kultura, and the 25-piece Ezer Foundation string orchestra.
Copies of the Bicol Bible were also dedicated during the program and were received by Naga City Vice Mayor Nelson Legacion and Pastor Joey Piano, who represented Camarines Sur Vice Governor Fortunato Peña.