1. Promotion of Biblical Studies and Formation of Bible Animators
There is much of enthusiasm among the people of God in Kerala in the study of the Sacred Scripture. The Bible Commission tries to foster these hallowed sentiments and strengthen the people’s Endeavour to study Bible, providing them with study materials and occasions to interact with Biblical scholars.
A. Bible Correspondence Course
The total number of students of the Bible Correspondence Course is 10214. The new comers of this year are 368. A contact class was arranged on 9th May 2015 at the POC in which 84 students participated. Rev. Dr. Philip Chembakassery delivered lectures on the book of Numbers. Rev. Sisters and laity, especially the Sunday school teachers, charismatic groups and NRI’s show genuine interest in this Course.
B. Bible Courses
i. Wednesday Evening Bible Course (2014-2015)
The Commission completed a batch of Wednesday Evening Course of 40 weeks starting from 4th June 2014 to 11th March 2015. 132 persons attended the course. The first 20 minutes were dedicated to a preliminary introduction to biblical Hebrew. The resource persons and the subjects were the following: Rev. Dr. J. Thondiparambil (Leviticus & Jesus’ invitation to God’s original plan for Family), Rev. Fr. G. Ollattupurath OCD (Minor Prophets), Rev. Dr. T. Marottiparambil OCD (John), Rev. Dr. J. Mayyattil (The Psalter, Family in the Wisdom Books, Introduction to Biblical Hebrew, Evangelii Gaudium), Rev. Dr. S. Mathirappilly (Widowhood and Barrenness in the Bible), Rev. Dr. J. Poochakkattu (Old age & Family in the Bible), Rev. Dr. J. Nalpathilchira (Institution of Marriage and related customs in the Bible, Family & Financial management in the Bible), Rev. Dr. J. Puthiyedath (Prayer & Family in the Bible), Rev. Dr. C. Puthenpurackal (Family & Relations in the Bible), Rev. Dr. J. Chanikkuzhy (Parents & Children in the Bible), Rev. Dr. J. Achandy (The Acts of the Apostles), Rev. Fr. J. Kottayil (Extra Ordinary Synod on Family, ‘Home churches’ in the Acts and the Epistles).
ii. Wednesday Evening Bible Course (2015-2016)
The Commission has started a new batch of the Wednesday Evening Course of 40 weeks (10th June 2015 – 11th March 2015). 113 persons attend the course. The first 20 minutes are dedicated to a preliminary introduction to biblical Hebrew. The resource persons and the subjects are the following: Rev. Dr. J. Thondiparambil (Journey Narrative in Numbers ), Rev. Fr. G. Ollattupurath OCD (Minor Prophets), Rev. Fr. C. Neerakkal OCD (Discipleship in the Synoptic Gospel, Call Narratives in the OT), Rev. Dr. J. Mayyattil (Jewish Hours, Months & Years, Mercy in Psalter, Introduction to Biblical Hebrew), Rev. Fr. Kadeparambil (Wisdom Books), Rev. Fr. Cyprian (House Churches & Gospel), Rev. Fr. Martin OdeM (Characters in the Gospel of John) Rev. Fr. X. Padiyaramparambil (Selected Passages from Mark)
2. Bible Apostolate Directors’ Meeting
The Diocesan Bible Apostolate Directors met twice (5th March 2015, 17th Sep. 2015) and shared the experiences, ideas and visions regarding Bible Apostolate and took important decisions. Such meetings help the Directors to engage more actively and fruitfully in the ministry of the Word of God in their respective dioceses. Now all the Directors are members of the Board of Trustees of KCBC Bible Commission since the Bible Commission has been registered as a religious Trust.
3. Plenary Assembly of Catholic Biblical Federation
Secretary participated in the Plenary Assembly of CBF held in Nemi, Rome from 18th to 23rd June, 2015. It was led by Cardinal Tagle the President. The meeting was very fruitful. It was a gracious occasion to meet various leading Biblical activists and to learn of the variety of Biblical pastoral initiatives taking place around the globe. The secretary could present a few of our several initiatives. The brochure about Logos Bible Quiz was distributed among the participants and this unique initiative obtained keen attention and high appreciation from all the representatives.
4. Publication and Distribution of the POC Bible
The publication and distribution of Bible is one of the notable apostolate of the KCBC Bible Commission. At present Kerala Church has five types of complete Bible and seven types of New Testament. A total of 2,17,532 copies of various formats of Bible were distributed this year.
5. Cyber Bible, Mobile Bible and Desktop Bible
The internet version of the POC Bible launched by the Bible Commission, with the help of Jesus Youth in 2008 has been one of the most preferred Catholic sites in Malayalam. Its mobile version, launched in 2011, has exceeded four lakhs of free downloads. The desktop version, launched in 2013, too has been wholeheartedly accepted and appreciated by its users. Now we are working on the preparation of Mobile Bible apt for further platforms including Windows phones.
6. Activities of the Kerala Catholic Bible Society
At present, the Society has 13,935 members. In the current year 2034 new members have registered their names in the Society. The Society spent Rs. 6,22,856/- for giving 3361 Bibles to the new members as gift. During the reporting year the Society spent Rs. 5,19,105/- as subsidy for Bible to its members. A total of 12,311 copies of the New Testament ordinary Bible and 7393 copies of the New Testament Bold Letter Bible were distributed during this period. A total of 1,399 copies of various formats of Audio Bible reached the people this year. In addition, thousands of people listen to the free on-line Audio Bible.
The Managing Council and the Executive Committee together met twice (11th April 2015, 8th Aug. 2015) and the Executive Committee met four times (5th March 2015, 11th April 2015, 23rd July 2015, 8th Aug. 2015) for various purposes. The Annual General Body of KCBS was convened on 9th Aug 2015. It was inaugurated and presided over by the Chairman Archbishop Soosa Pakiam. Rev. Dr. Stephen Alathara delivered felicitatory address. The General Body gave approval to various programmes of the current year of the Bible Society. In this meeting, Bishop Mar Joseph Pallickaparambil Award, instituted for the Diocese which brings in the highest membership sum, was granted to the Diocese of Cochin. Among the promoters, Mrs. Jancy Jacob (Diocese of Cochin) who collected greatest membership sum and Mrs. Jessy Cletus (Diocese of Cochin) who added maximum members to the Society during the year received cash awards from the Bishop for their performance.
a. Logos Quiz - 2015
Logos Quiz, the joint venture of the KCBC Bible Commission and the Kerala Catholic Bible Society was conducted with great success this year also. On-line registration facility (www.logosquiz.org) was widely made use of. The on-line Logos Quiz facility for NRI’s was utilised by 200 persons. Miss Beena Jacob the Logos Prathibha of 2014, from the Diocese of Pala, was given a free trip to the Holy Land. 5,69,000 participants from 57 Dioceses, including 24 North Indian Dioceses, took part in the Diocesan level Mega Bible Quiz conducted on 27th September 2015. Numbers 1-10, Proverbs 1-9, John 1-12 and the Letter of Jude were the study portions. The state level Logos Quiz was conducted on 27th, 28th and 29th of November. This year we conducted Logos Samarpitha Prathibha contest for the Consecrated people in connection with the Year of the Consecrated. 150 Consecrated from 33 dioceses appeared for the Quiz at POC. Six toppers from this test appeared for the Consecrated Telequiz and the Logos Samarpitha Prathibha will be given a free trip to the Holy Land. On 28th November, 541 candidates appeared for the written exam. Final rounds for 10 persons from each age group followed. After the Grand Finale Telequiz, the Logos Prathibha was awarded with the Palackal Thoma Malpan Memorial cash award and trophy instituted by Palackal Kudumba Yogam. All the winners in various age groups were given cash awards, certificates and medals.
b. Inauguration of the Silver Jubilee Year of KCBS
25 years of dedicated service of the Word of God !!!. The Silver Jubilee Year of the Kerala Catholic Bible Society was inaugurated during the solemn ceremony conducted at POC on 30th Nov 2014. His Grace Archbishop Soosa Pakiam the Chairman of KCBS chaired the meeting. His Beatitude George Cardinal Alenchery delivered keynote address and inaugurated the meeting. Justice Kurian Joseph (the Supreme Court of India) the former Vice-chairman of the Bible Society inaugurated the Jubilee Year. Mar George Punnakkottil the founder-Chairman delivered the benedictory speech.
c. Jubilee Bible Mission Project
This project that envisages free Bible distribution in and outside Kerala was launched during the Jubilee inaugural ceremony. Persons who contributed one lakh Rupees towards the project, were declared the first Jubilee Bible Mission Ambassadors by His Eminence Cardinal Alenchery. 10 such ambassadors generously contributed to the project and about 10,000 Bibles were distributed freely to all the Dioceses in Kerala and to various Retreat centres and Novena centres The Society hopes to find out 100 such Ambassadors from all over Kerala.
c. Audio Bible
The complete POC Audio Bible, prepared professionally with the co-operation of hundreds of artists, was released on 30th November 2014 during the solemn meeting of Silver Jubilee Year Inauguration. It was released by His Excellency Bishop Emeritus Mar George Punnakkottil. The Audio Bible is now available on DVD, CD and Pendrive. It is also on internet. All the 150 musical Psalms can be downloaded free of cost. The whole of Audio Bible can be downloaded on payment.
d. Digital and Braille Bibles for the Physically Challenged
The Annual General Body of KCBS convened on 9th August, 2015 witnessed very hearty moments. More than 100 physically challenged people from various parts of Kerala attended the meeting to take part in the releasing ceremony of Sign Bible, Accessible Bible and Braille Bible. In this Jubilee Year KCBS expressed its special concern for the audibly challenged persons by the production of the Sign Bible called “Ephphatha” which presents 10 parables of Jesus presented in sign language and with visual aids. Braille Bible is now released only for the New Testament. In the coming year we plan to release also the Old Testament Braille Bible. Accessible Bible is innovative Software financed and developed by the Society. The visually challenged people can operate this software in their own computers to get audible access to the complete New Testament through Audio Bible clippings.
e. Mar George Punnakkottil Vachana Sarga Prathibha Award
The inaugural ceremony of the Silver Jubilee Year witnessed a new initiative from KCBS for promoting creativity in the biblical field. An annual award of Rs. 25,000 was established for the persons and groups that contribute creatively to the Biblical pastoral field. One particular sphere will be focused every year. The endowment sum of Rs. 3,00,000 was donated by the Diocese of Kothamangalam and the Punnakkottil Family Trust.
f. Publication of Books
The Society published Baibilum Keralavum a succinct and comprehensive history of Catholic Biblical Apostolate in Kerala written by Rev. Fr. David Nettikkadan. We distributed almost 20000 copies of it as gift for Logos participants and for the Society members. We published two more books this year: Ulpathy Kathakal written by Mr. Nelson Fernandes and Alphayum Omegayum the second part of an elementary Greek handbook, prepared by Rev. Dr. Chacko Puthenpurakkal.
g. Daily Bible Reading Calendar 2016
The Jubilee Year Inauguration ceremony witnessed also the releasing of the Daily Bible Reading Calendar 2016 by Archbishop Soosa Pakiam.
h. Bible Cyber Ministry
The website of the Society (www.keralabiblesociety.com) is available both in Malayalam and English languages. The website provides updated information regarding the nature, scope and activities of the KCBC Bible Commission and the Kerala Catholic Bible Society. The site provides the visitors with updated news on the developments in the biblical field. All the Audio Bibles released by the Society till now are available on the site. Some of the Bible Scholars have come forward to contribute their works to our cyber ministry with the view of erecting an e-library. Our site has become children-friendly through the introduction of Bible comics. We hope that our site will gradually become a podium for the Bible scholars to reach out to the people who seek Biblical nourishment.
9. Proposed Projects of the KCBC Bible Commission for the Year 2015-2016
1. Promotion of Biblical Studies
a. Publication of Study Bible
b. Wednesday Evening Bible Course of 40 weeks
c. Introduction to Biblical Languages
d. Publication of Study Materials for a higher level Bible Correspondence
e. Contact classes
2. Bible Apostolate Directors’ Meetings
3. Celebration of Bible Month (December 2015) and Bible Sunday (27th December 2015)
4. Bible Television Programmes
5. Activities of the Kerala Catholic Bible Society
a. Various Jubilee Year programmes
b. Annual General Body Meeting
c. Mar George Punnakkottil Vachana Sarga Prathibha Award
d. Executive Committee and Managing Council Meetings
e. Society Membership Campaigns
f. Publication of Biblical Books: Study Bible, Linear Bible
g. Promotion of the Study of Biblical languages
h. Logos Quiz 2016
i. Daily Bible Reading Calendar 2017
j. Old Testament Braille Bible
k. Bible Games for children
l. Holy Land Pilgrimage
m. Updating of the Website
The year 2014-2015 has been a time of growth and dynamism for the Bible apostolate in Kerala. KCBC Bible Commission and Kerala Catholic Bible Society have co-ordinated well the biblical pastoral ministry. I use this occasion for acknowledging our in-depth gratitude to Major Archbishop Moran Mor Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos, the President of KCBC, to Archbishop His Grace Mar Joseph Perumthottam, the Vice-President, and to His Excellency Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Kariyil the Secretary General of KCBC. Thanks are due to all the Bishops of the KCBC for their continued support, encouragement and keen interest in the activities of the KCBC Bible Commission and Kerala Catholic Bible Society. May I submit this report with a word of thanks to all those who have shouldered the responsibility for the Commission and the Society, especially the Chairman His Grace Most Rev. Dr. Soosa Pakiam and His Excellency Samuel Mar Irenios and His Excellency Mar Joseph Kallarangattu, the Vice Chairmen. Special thanks are due to Rev. Fr. Varghese Vallikkattu, the Director of POC, to the office staff Rev. Sr. Nima C.T.C., Mrs. Teresita Cletus, Mr. A.M. Thomas, Mr. Manu, Mrs. Linu, Mrs. Anu and all the other staff members of POC. Trusting in the providence of God and submitting ourselves to His gracious guidance, I conclude this report with the expectation of your continued co-operation and valuable suggestions.
Rev. Dr. Joshy Mayyattil
Secretary, KCBC Bible Commission and Kerala Catholic Bible Society