Bishop Hopeful Easter Recollection Will Renew Nova Faithful

The Biblical Apostolate of the Diocese of Novaliches, headed by Rev. Hernando Batomalaque conducted an Easter Recollection last Saturday, April 23, 2016 at St. Peter Parish, Commonwealth Ave., Q.C. with the theme “Strengthening Family Through The Word And Eucharist,” that emphasized on the organization, distribution and animation of the Word of God, through the B.I.B.L.E. coined as, “Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth.”

His Excellency, Bishop Sonfronio Bancud was invited to be speaker of this Easter Recollection. Traveling all the way from his Diocese in Cabanatuan and leaving as early as 4:30 in the morning, Most Reverend Bishop Bancud was quoted saying, “Simply, my hope and prayer that the little that I am able to share with them can instill in their minds and in their hearts, a renewed commitment to the Lord. Yun lamang ang importante.”

This event was also attended by His Excellency Bishop Antonio Tobias of the Diocese of Novaliches, who expressed hopes that, “Our participants will have a better appreciation of the resurrection…and that the impact will be based on their own knowledge of the Bible.”

The Easter Recollection started with a Mass celebrated by both Bishops. In his homily, Bishop Antonio Tobias reminded the faithful that, “Our being a Christian means a relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

His excellency ended his homily by asking for this grace of a deep relationship with the Triune God “as we gather together for this Easter Recollection.”

From the Eucharistic celebration, participants of the recollection were then invited to do a Pilgrim Dance (also called Exodus Walk), which was also participated by His Excellency Bishop Bancud. Brother Neil Pal-Laya, Coordinator of the Biblical Apostolate of Mary, Mother of the Church Parish explained that the Pilgrim Dance is prayer with the use of our body through movements.

The Pilgrim Dance consisted of three steps forward, followed by a step backward, with the right hand of one pilgrim on the shoulder of the person infront, and the left hand on the heart. This, according to Bro Neil shows that, “As a pilgrim, lahat magkakasabay, walang naiiwan,” while the step back is the recollection or pagninilay-nilay of the forwards steps.

The Pilgim’s Dance was followed by a very solemn Bible Enthronement and the talk of Bishop Bancud. In his talk, Bishop Bancud started with a question on thirst of the world to gather more, “Kitang-kita. Nalalasap. Iyan ang paraan ng mundo. Marami ka nang kinuha. Milyones. Bakit ganun pa rin?”

He then emphasized the presence of God through the Word and the Eucharist, “Hangga’t hindi ito punuan ng presensiya ng Diyos…we can be lost.”

Bishop Bancod also lamented that we celebrate Christmas for such a long time, even before the actual celebration, and yet when it comes to Easter, the faithful forgets too soon, “Parang wala na agad ang diwa ng Muling Pagkabuhay.”

He then reiterated that in moments of doubt, frustration and disappointment, the Apostles relied on the Word of God. Challenging the faithful to rely on the Word of God to be the Light of the World, Bishop Bancud urged the participants to say, “Yes, Lord, I want to encounter You. I want to speak with You.”

He pointed out that proclaiming and living the Word of God are really all about learning how to listen compassionately to the struggles and dreams, most especially of our family members. His Excellency emphasized that the theme of the recollection, “Strengthening Family Through the Word and the Eucharist”, can only be done if three values were practiced: (1) Humility, (2) Hospitality and (3) Trust in God. He stressed, however, that trust in God is not possible if we do not trust one another. His Excellency ended with a challenge, “Sana ang Salita ng Diyos, huwag nating ikahiya.”

Following the talk of Bishop Bancud, the Institute of Pastoral Development (IPD), headed by Celsa Uy, and facilitated by Judith Alpay and Steve Sandoval, gave a talk on Appreciative Inquiry as a method towards “participating more fully and meaningfully in the mission of the Church in the Philippines towards New Evangelization” most especially towards the celebration of the 500th year of Christianity in 2021. Appreciative Inquiry focuses on the new possibilities in attaining exceptional results.

The Episcopal Commission of Biblical Apostolate hopes to distribute 3 million copies of the Bible nationwide before the 500th year celebration of Christianity in 2021. According to Rev. Hernan Batomalaque, director of Biblical Apostolate of the Diocese of Novaliches, the Diocese had already distributed 15,000 Bibles over the last 3 years. In a nationwide level, more than 100,000 copies had already been distributed or sold at cost (php 150).

Other activities of the Biblical Apostolate of the Diocese of Novaliches include the following: (1) NCR Youth Bible Camp, (2) Lay Bible Coordinators Formation, (3) Balon ng Buhay, (4) Bible Study, (5) Sambayanihan, (4) World Alive Biblical Institute (WABI), (6) Bible Congress, (7) National Bible Week, (8) Bib Liodrama, (9) Silent Bible Retreat. (~Dra. Jyn Aragon)