Chinese Bible association gathers to make Scripture the heart of Church's life

Chinese Bible association gathers to make Scripture the heart of Church's life

United Chinese Catholic Bible Association group photo at the 10th World Chinese Bible Congress in Taipei. Credit: Cecilia Chui/UCCBA.
United Chinese Catholic Bible Association group photo at the 10th World Chinese Bible Congress in Taipei. Credit: Cecilia Chui/UCCBA.

.- The United Chinese Catholic Biblical Association held its tenth World Chinese Biblical Congress last month in Taiwan, drawing participants from 18 countries to reflect on Scripture and its place in the new evangelization.

“The congress was a very touching experience of a new Pentecost with the outpouring of gifts of the Holy Spirit in the company of the Blessed Mother … engendering fresh new inspirations, hope, and vision for all concerned to mark a new page in being biblical missionary disciples in the Church and in the world in creative ways,” said Cecilia Chui, secretary of the UCCBA.

“The UCCBA is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the promulgation of the Second Vatican Council document Dei Verbum and has resolved to meaningfully live 2015 as a Biblical pastoral ministry year and to dedicate this project to respond to the apostolic exhortations Verbum Domini and Evangelii Gaudium as a humble gift for Pope Francis on the  second anniversary of his pontificate,” Chui told CNA Feb 24.

The biblical congress drew more than 300 participants to Taipei, the capital of the Republic of China, Jan. 22-26 to reflect on the theme “Bearing Witness to the Word for New Evangelization.”

In addition to Taiwan, participants came from Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Japan, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Germany, England, and Canada.

Most were laity, though six bishops were present, including Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong.

Chui pointed out that centering on the directives of Verbum Domini and Evangelii Gaudium, the five-day congress was designed to reflect on “how to make God’s Word ever more fully the heart of the Church’s life and mission in multi-perspectives, and how to discern the signs of the times,” through talks and witnesses by speakers and communities from different locales.

Fr. Joseph Zhang, a Chinese biblical scholar, spoke on “Evangelization within the Chinese Community – How Does the Bible Encounter Chinese People,” emphasizing the importance of a deep reading of the Bible, the formation of Gospel-filled missionary disciples, and offering the Gospel that the Chinese need in view of their life situations.

Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan of Taipei spoke on “The Word of God, Marriage, and the Family,” and Fr. Mark Fang, S.J., presented an examination of Bl. Paul VI's Evangelii Nuntiandi.

The climax of the congress coincided with the celebration of the feast of Bl. Gabriel Maria Allegra, referred as the St. Jerome of China. During the Mass, Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing, auxiliary bishop of Hong Kong, preached on Bl. Allegra's ability to inspire the new evangelization.

Participants also received Chinese translations of Evangelii Gaudium and the New Testament, and instruction in lectio divina.

Chui concluded that “the tasks of overall planning and running of the meeting were shouldered by lay people, and that the outcomes were thrilling and fruitful manifest clearly that it is the 'Age of the Word' and the 'Age of the Laity'.”

The prefect and the secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples both conveyed congratulatory messages to the meeting, as well as a message from Pope Francis and his apostolic blessing.

The UCCBA was founded in 1990, and the next biblical congress is due to take place in Hong Kong, the birthplace of the UCCBA.

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