PATTAYA, Thailand — The Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences is hosting a seminar on apostolates inspired by the Bible and the New Evangelization this weekend, drawing clerics, religious, and laity from across the continent.
“The main crux is to reawaken the missionary challenge of the Word,” Father Jacob Theckanath, executive director of the bishops' conference, told CNA, explaining “Crossing the Borders: Renewed Biblical Apostolate,” being held Dec. 5-7 in the Thai city of Pattaya, located 90 miles southeast of Bangkok.
The seminar marks the release of Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) on the new evangelization; Father. Alberto Rossa, an Argentinian missionary, copies of the document to the participants.
The group aims to draw on both Pope Francis' text and Verbum Domini (The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church), Benedict XVI's apostolic exhortation, to amplify the role of the biblical apostolate.
The seminar was also inspired by the message of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences' 10th plenary assembly, published in December 2012, on “renewed evangelizers” for the new evangelization in Asia.
Drawing people from 19 countries across Asia and Oceania, the seminar aims to help participants produce more effective Bible-based apostolates, using lectio divina (prayerful reading of Scripture) and integrating missionary zeal for the new evangelization into all forms of biblical and pastoral ministry, Father Theckanath explained.
The Christian community should not be “introverted” with their use of the Bible, but rather carry and integrate the Gospel into all walks of life, he stressed.
Father Theckanath was encouraged by the “tremendous representation of the laity,” making up half of the participants in the seminar, calling it a “positive sign of the interest and hunger for the Word of God.”