Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – July 29th last, during a solemn mass celebrated by Msgr. Joseph Coutts, bishop of Faisalabad, the first ever computer printed edition of the Catholic Bible in Urdu was presented. It was reviewed by the Catholic Bible Commission, whereas printing, composing and publishing was done with the cooperation of Pakistan Bible Society. In Faisalabad, as in all of the Churches, the bible’s publication was accompanied by a mass and solemn procession, complete with incense and prayers.
Msgr. Coutts invited the faithful to “witness God’s words in their daily lives, welcoming them into their homes and hearts”. Fr. Aftab James Paul – a member of the revising commission – during his homily explained - “There is no change in the main manuscript of the Bible, we just changed the difficult words with easy to understand words so every one can easily understand the living word of God”. Moreover, he invited the faithful to “keep a copy of the bible in their homes, to show with strength their belonging to the Christian Community”.
Even the Archbishop of Karachi, Mgrs. Evarist Pinto, in a message to the faithful of his diocese said “with gratitude and joy we welcome the 9th Edition of the Urdu Catholic Bible. It is indeed a significant event in the history of the local Church in Pakistan” and which saw “the generous co-operation of the Pakistan Bible Society, in the future also there are plans to work together in the field of the Bible Apostolate and Bible promotion. There is need for a fresh edition of the Bible because of the development of the language with new vocabulary, phrases and idioms. But the Word of God does not change. It remains firm for ever”.
The need to change the old and difficult words of Arabic and Persian as well as the extinct words of Urdu, in the previous Urdu edition of the Bible was first mentioned about 25 years ago but the real work only started in April 2002 when the Catholic Bible Commission of Pakistan was formed under the chairmanship of Archbishop Evarist Pinto of Karachi and Fr Emmanuel Asi, a well known Bible scholar. The new edition is a slimmer version – 1455 pages compared to the 1665 of the older edition – and is enriched by 5 colour maps.