10/22/2008, 00.00
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Manila: raising Bible awareness among youth

by Santosh Digal
In the predominantly Christian country, 70 per cent of young people have no Bible; many of them acknowledge that they do not know how to handle it. As the Synod on the Word of God draws to a close in the Vatican the Philippine Bible Society launches the ‘Youth! Explode: The Bible Adventure Series’, an initiative designed to help youth discover the value of the Holy Scriptures.
Manila (AsiaNews) – The Synod of Bishops dedicated to the Word of God now underway in the Vatican is not over yet, but in the Philippines an initiative has been announced to promote Bible awareness among young people. Titled Youth! Explode: The Bible Adventure Series, the one-day event is scheduled to take place in Manila next 29 November.

Research by the Philippine Bible Society (PBS) has shown most Filipinos do not have a Bible. Although the country is 80 per cent Catholic, 60 per cent of the population has no Bible, a percentage that rises to 70 per cent among young people.

During the first day of the Synod Filipino bishops stressed the need to rediscover the Bible. For example, Mgr Luis A. G. Tagle, bishop of Imus, urged the Synodal Fathers to educate the faithful with regards to listening, i.e. “listening in the faith,” a “gift of the Spirit” which is “at the same time part of human freedom.” For him, “listening in the faith means opening one’s heart to the Word of God” and “training to listen means training for total faith.”

Like the bishop of Imus, the auxiliary bishop of Manila stressed the “need for guidelines that can help Catholics interpret the Bible.” For Mgr Broderick Pabillo, “knowing the Bible is not so much about knowing a book than about knowing and relating to the person of Christ.”

On 29 November more than 8,000 young leaders already involved in the life and pastoral activities of the Church nationwide will meet in the capital.  

The PBS survey shows that among young people who belong to local communities and parishes there is widespread ignorance about the Holy Scriptures.

A large number of them acknowledged that they do not know how to read the book.

“It is in response to this reality organisers have come together and decided to come up with a deliberate youth scripture engagement program that will convey to the Y Generation the transformative message of God’s Word in a more interactive fashion,” they said.

The get-together of youth group leaders and ministers is organised by the Philippine Bible Society, together with the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches, and the Episcopal Commissions on Youth and for the Biblical Apostolate of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

“The Body of Christ in the Philippines can no longer afford to be divided by our petty differences. The call for us to unite in the name of God and His Word is real. Youth! Explode is our response and challenge,” said PBS President Mgr Arturo Bastes.

Youth! Explode will kick off with a march by participants who, from different points in the city, will converge at Manila’s Folk Arts Theater.

The event includes working groups with priests and scholars, open discussions and a concert inspired by the Holy Scriptures.

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