“By reading the scriptures we open our hearts to the prompting of the Holy Spirit who helps us grasp the word, make it our own and announce it to the world” (Con. 407)
The Biblical Pastoral Ministry is one of the characteristic dimensions of our Society. It is a call to all of us to animate our ministry through the scriptures and proclaim the Word of God. I am taking this opportunity to share my experience as a coordinator of the biblical pastoral ministry in our province. I would like to divide this into three parts:
1.Pre-COVID 19. This was a time of strong support and many activities. We were fully engaged animating the biblical ministry with workshops, prayer, and activities. We had two bible workshops. The first one, which was on the book of Revelation, was held at St Matthew parish, Corona. It was in both English and Spanish. The second one was on the book of Exodus. It was held in three languages: Vietnamese, English and Spanish, at St. George parish, Ontario.
Whenever we had district meetings or get-togethers, we always started with a Lectio Divina, just as we did for our Provincial Assembly and Chapter. Lectio Divina brings the light of the Word into our lives and ministries. We also organized bible study groups at the parish level in order to promote more bible-reading among our laity. Added to these ministries I would like to mention the work of Ministerio Biblico Verbo Divino which supplies bibles and biblical material locally and throughout the United States.
Our brother SVDs working at Wordnet productions also promote the Word of God in their programs and ministries with sessions like Dios Habla, iGod, and lectures on Sacred Scripture by various experts in Scripture and the spiritual life. For example, Dr Matthew Petrusek has offered TV presentations on the bible outlining our need to believe.
2.Covid 19. This was a very difficult period for all of us. Regulations from the government and the Church made it difficult to continue the kinds of activities that we were doing in the past. But we are dedicated, and we were not discouraged. We put our hearts and minds into it and came up with creative new ways to continue and even improve on our biblical ministries. Everyone was in the same situation. We were closed off from each other physically. In order to reach out to the faithful in our parishes, we went over to virtual meetings, workshops, services. We began to use the internet technology in creative new ways. I was afraid at first because I could only use email. But I got involved and very soon I was able to lead a bible group from my parish using zoom. Soon I branched out to offering Lectio Divina’s and prayer vigils. It was a time of learning and sharing in new ways, and our lives were enlightened by the Word of God. People were able to express their needs, their feelings, and fears, and we were able to respond.
3.Post – Covid 19. Thanks to God we are coming out of this difficult time and, although it may never be completely the same again, we are starting to return to our normal work and activities. Covid has helped those of us who are involved in the biblical ministry to grow. We have new ideas and methods, and with our new skills we will continue to make use of them in spreading the Word of God. We will continue to do our biblical apostolate but in new ways. As we look toward the future, we take time out to re-commit ourselves to the book of life, animating it and using every method at our disposal—old and new. With newfound hope for the biblical ministry, we look forward to improving our biblical apostolate and sharing our lives with the people we serve. I would like to thank all of you, and I hope to receive your support for the new activities in the coming year.
– Roberto Flores SVD