10/03/2008, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Filipino Church aims to have a Bible per family

by Santosh Digal
The goal is to hand out five million Bibles for free or at a token price by 2013. The imitative is part of a five-year Bible study plan and is inspired by the Synod of Bishops set to meet this Sunday in Rome.
Manila (AsiaNews) – The Catholic Church in cooperation with other Christian denominations in the country has pledged to distribute five million copies of the Bible to poor families.

“We’ll get to distribute one million copies of the Bible in a year,” said Nora Lucero, secretary general of the Philippines Bible Society (PBS). “This is a five-year campaign (2008 to 2013) which aims to provide five million copies of the Bible in five years.”

Starting with a fund raising campaign to pay for the project, such an ambitious target needs the “help of all individuals” as part of a “campaign [that] aims to put a Bible in every Filipino home [. . .] at a subsidized price of R50 (about US$ 1) per copy, while others will be given free,” said Lucero.

A 2005 survey showed that only four Filipino families in ten had a Bible. “It’s not surprising why we are having a problem, in terms of morality, because the Bible is the foundation of our moral bearing,” Lucero added.

“We all know that the Bible is the word of God and it teaches us what’s right from wrong. If we learn to apply this to our lives, then we will know how to behave as Christians,’ she added.

This ‘May They Be One’ Bible campaign was launched on Tuesday, Feast Day of Saint Jerome, in Manila Cathedral with a joint prayer followed by a solemn Eucharistic celebration presided by Papal Nuncio Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams with bishops and priests from the country’s various dioceses.

The name for this initiative promoted by the PBS, which is part of a five-year ‘May They Be One’ Bible study campaign, is taken the Gospel of John 17, 21 in which Jesus, turning to His Father, says: “[S]o that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you”. As such these words announce the unity of the faithful in the Universal Church.

The motto “So that they may all be one” is inspired by the General Assembly of the Synod scheduled for this Sunday in Rome which will focus on “The Word of God in the Life and the Mission of the Church.”

In naming their campaign Filipino bishops sought to stress their connection to the pope and the Church whilst reiterating the missionary role that belongs to each and every faithful.

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