Reviewing the Roadmap (2016 – 2019) formulated at the II Latin American and Caribbean Biblical Animation of all Pastoral Life (ABP) encounter, held in Quito, August 12–14, 2016, it is noted that there is still a lot of ground to be covered here in our country.
While some significant signposts have been reached, efforts to move forward have often been stymied by roadblocks encountered, of one kind or another. However, it is the desire of our local ABP team to pursue relentlessly the goals set out in the document mentioned above.
If as stated in Guidelines for Biblical Animation of all Pastoral Life (CELAM Document No. 198), “the basic objective of ABP is to ensure that the Word of God is the soul of pastoral ministry; the sap that nourishes the salvific vitality, the evangelizing activity of the church, then it must be at the heart of all ecclesial activity.”
It cannot be overstated that ABP is not another ‘new’ ministry to be added to the already packed slate of ministries offered in parishes but a new way of ensuring that the encounter with the Word of God, who is Jesus Christ Himself, gives life to and nourishes all ministries.
The ABP brochure, prepared and disseminated locally was published in a previous issue of the Catholic News. It outlined clearly the mission and vision as they relate to the dimensions of Interpretation, Communication, and Evangelisation of the Word.
Heartening and hopeful at this time of church renewal in the Archdiocese, as we have embarked on a wide scale Pastoral Planning, is the fact that in the objectives set for us as an Archdiocese, there is a measure of commonality with some of the ideas articulated in Roadmap 2016-2019.
This is no coincidence since the direction set by ABP for the Latin American and the Caribbean Church is grounded in teachings of Church documents among which are Verbum Domini, Dei Verbum and Aparecida 2007.
Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, who is our Pope Francis, was chosen to chair the committee charged with drafting the Aparecida Document, from which ABP draws its lifeblood, as it were.
Reference here, therefore, must be made to some common areas: Maintaining a preferential option for young people and the poor; spreading the practice of prayerful reading (Lectio Divina) at all levels so that it becomes the lifestyle of missionary disciples; training processes for missionary disciples inspired by the variety of biblical models and the proposals of Aparecida (AD No. 240 et seq.); support of pastoral conversion processes in local church communities leading to the implementation of integrated pastoral plans from the perspective of communion and synodality (walking together).
As we continue to walk together as Church, we are inspired and energised by the fact that the New Evangelisation must be at the heart of the formation necessary to bring about the desired change.
As a ‘Church going forth’ let us quicken our steps to ensure that the Word of God which beckons us to move on, takes its rightful place in the hearts and lives of all baptised Catholics.