02/24/2009, 00.00
PAKISTAN
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Discovering the Bible to bring the Christian message to everyone

by Qaiser Felix
In one of the oldest Catholic villages of Pakistan a congress is held to discuss the Holy Scriptures and the Church’s mission. It is part of the Year of the Bible launched by Pakistani bishops. It can “rekindle people’s passion for the word of God [. . .] so that they can pass on to others what they have received,” says the secretary of the Catholic Bible Commission of Pakistan.
Khushupur (AsiaNews) – “This is a totally new concept for me, meeting the Holy Scriptures only for myself, discuss the verses among ourselves so as to understand how they can become part of my daily life,” Aqeela Dilshad, a 19 years old college student from Faisalabad diocese, said as she talked about a four-day Bible congress that drew about 170 Catholic, many young, from her diocese as well as that of Islamabad.

The event took place in one of the Pakistan’s oldest Catholic village, Khushpur, in Punjab province on the theme of ‘The bible and the Church’, fourth such meeting in a series that began in May 2008, when Pakistan’s bishops launched the Year of the Bible.

After the Eucharist celebrated by Mgr Joseph Coutts, bishop of Faisalabad, which inaugurated the congress, a series of sessions got underway in which delegates approached the Holy Scriptures in different ways.

Fr Aftab James Paul, diocesan director of the Faisalabad Bible Commission, told  AsiaNews that the focus of the four-day event was the richness of the Bible and the many approaches that it offers the faithful, all from a dual perspective, that of personal conversion and of mission to the world “to promote the Christian message to others.”

Men and women religious, catechists, diocesan and Caritas operators were among the delegates. And for all of them the four days in Khushpur were an important moment to discover the Holy Scriptures anew.

“I am very lucky to take part in this congress,” said Sister Shazia Lal, from the congregation of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For her it was an opportunity “to know the history of the Bible and what role our people played in translating it.”

For Caritas operator Shakeela Yasmen, 29, from Tob Tek Singh, the four-day event helped her understand the importance of “bringing the word of God into my actual life.”

Fr Emmanuel Asi, secretary of the Catholic Bible Commission of Pakistan, said that the purpose of the various Bible congresses held since May of last year has been to “rekindle people’s passion for the word of God and push them to regularly recite and study the Bible so that they can pass on to others what they have received.”

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