Church launches the Gospel via text messages
by Santosh Digal
The project is the brainchild of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Commission on Biblical Apostolate, and involves the sending of texts and animation via mms to the mobile phones of subscribers. The Commission secretary underlines the initiatives’ importance in attracting young people by speaking their same language.

Manila (AsiaNews) – The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Commission on Biblical Apostolate has recently launched a project called “Bible on cell phones”, a service that aims to “get the Gospel message across to people who cannot come to church, encouraging them to stay faithful to Sacred Scripture and at the same time bridge the gap between young people and the faith”.  This is how Fr. Oscar Alunday, Commission secretary described the project adding: “Its one way of drawing closer to the new generation and their kind of communication”.

The Church in the Philippines, he continues, “has often questioned itself on how to get closer to the younger generations: at a certain point we understood that we had to start paying attention to their world and the new trends in it.  With this service we aim to create a network that unites young people and the Gospel”. What’s more “the project is an answer to the alarmingly high level of young people we don’t read the Bible”.

According to a 2006 survey conducted by the National Bible Society, 60% of the Philippine population do not read or even own a Bible: “It is a worrying statistic, but at the same time it opens a window of opportunity for these young people who search for the Word of God”.

The service can be activated by simply sending a text message with the slogan “Biblya On” to a phone number with the cost of 5pesos,  or 8 euro cents. Each message contains a text, and on cell phones compatible with mms, also a small animation, the product of  Enzima International Inc, who along with the Bible Society are sponsoring the project.

The Society is a non-profit and inter-confessional organization, at the forefront of promoting and advancing the use of the Bible.  Last year it created an e-Bible which is an electronic version of the Bible translated in seven Philippine languages and can be downloaded from any computer with the relevant software.