Most Rev. Dr. Antonysamy Peter Abir, the Bishop of Sultanpet and the Chairman of the CCBI Commission for Bible, in his keynote address said, “Biblical apostolate is our response to the Spirit that reminds us of Jesus, our true Gospel. Therefore, an unconditional openness to the Spirit must always be there. This is manifested when we listen to the Lord speaking from within the community.” Most Rev. John Rodrigues, the Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay and the Member Bishop of the CCBI Commission for Bible declared the meeting open.
Most Rev. Dr. Filipe Neri Ferrão, the Archbishop of Goa-Daman, the Patriarch ad honorem of the East Indies, and the President of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI), at the felicitation after the inaugural Mass, wished the participants a fruitful work at the meeting. In the light of the pastoral plan of the CCBI he underlined the importance of Biblical pastoral ministry and asserted that this ministry is possible only through networking and collaboration.
The activities of the national commission and the regional commissions were shared at the Meet. The religious and the lay representatives presented their present initiatives and future plans. At the Strategic Planning Meet, the vision, the mission, and the objectives of the CCBI Commission for Bible were revised. The mission of the Commission was rewritten as, “Collaborating and networking for effective Bible apostolate in India, in Biblical-pastoral formation, Bible translation and distribution, and Bible celebration and inculturation.”
The internal and external obstacles to Bible Apostolate were discussed. The new horizons that we need to explore in Bible Apostolate are: Bible Apostolate for children; For the differently abled & LGBT; For the youth; For the professionals (managerial lessons for teachers, doctors, et al); For the elderly & the sick; For the charismatic (Catholic) groups; Collaboration with other denominational churches; EBA – Electronic Bible Apostolate; For the non-believers; For the poor, the migrants, and the illiterate; and for the formees – at the seminaries, and at the men & women religious formation houses.
Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Raja Rao, SMM, the Bishop of Vijayawada and the Member Bishop of the CCBI Commission for Bible, moderated the session on networking and collaboration. The vertical networking – national-regional-diocesan-vicariate-parish-SCC-family-individual – needs to be strengthened, and horizontal collaboration – with people of other faiths, other denominations, Catholics, charismatic groups, and e-evangelists – has to be established.
Rev. Dr. Stephen Alathara, the Deputy Secretary General of the CCBI, outlined the Strategic Planning Meet. He said, “As our times change we need to evolve effective strategies for ending the poverty of the word of God.” Rev. Dr. Yesu Karunanidhi organized the Meet. We all resolved that we join hands “That God’s Word Be All To All.”