PATNA (OCTOBER 16): The Transforming and liberating Word is at the heart of a celebration that has drawn some 3000 Catholics from different parts of Bihar to a three day Bible Mahotsav at Queen of Apostles’ Church, Kurji, in Patna, the state capital.
The festival is one of the first major events in a year- long centenary celebration of Patna Archdiocese which started off in September.
“The word of God is central to our very existence as Christians,” Archbishop William D’Souza told an enthusiastic audience on the first day of the convention.
On the second day of the Mahotsav, which is in the form of a Catholic Convention, several of the laity chose to share their personal experiences, of how the Word of God inspired them and changed the course of their lives.
As catholic lay leader and Couples for Christ member AV Jose put it, “For me, this Bible Mahotsav is about reflecting and sharing the joy that the Scriptures bring to the faithful. The Word brings healing and consolation, forgiveness and compassion. The music and the procession and the beautiful talent and creativity of the youngsters is the icing on the cake, the real fruit is how the Word touches us during this festival.
Archbishop William D’Souza SJ of Patna had declared a year- long observance in all Catholic Parishes, for the faithful to study on the themes of the Gospels. At different times during the past 12 months, parishes in different towns have held celebrations, quizzes, variety programs and special prayer services to mark the importance of the Bible in Christian life.
“It’s a celebration of thanksgiving to God for the gift of the Holy Bible to the Catholic Church and the blessings we have received in and through the reading and celebrating the word of God.” says Archbishop William D’Souza.
Coadjutor Bishop Sebastian Kallupura, in an inspiring sermon during the Holy Mass pointed out that prayer and reading the scriptures is an important part of Catholic family life, and the key to happiness and holiness.
Music and song is an important part of the festival, and young and old joined in enthusiastically in the prayer sessions, which featured bhajans and songs in the local folk medium and dialects.
Apart from Prayer sessions, Holy Mass, sacrament of reconciliation, and an evening cultural programme. The evening programme on the second day featured a Bible Quiz on the gospel of Luke, in which the teams from different places wholeheartedly participated.
On the second evening, the young delegates from Gaya, Bariarpur, Nawada, Munger, Kurji, Barbigha, and Nalanda presented a rich cultural show based on the Word. While the Munger presentation of the Word from Genesis to salvation in about 12 minutes was breathtaking and beautiful, the prayer dances from Gaya captivated the audience’s attention. Parables, miracles, and the struggle between good and evil, all were tastefully presented.
The festival is for Catholics and Christians to better understand and live their lives in the light of the universal message of Peace, Reconciliation, and Love for all, as enshrined in the Bible.
On the first day, over a thousand Catholic children, men and women gathered at the Church compound and after a short prayer service conducted by Archbishop William D’Souza SJ, carried the Bible in a procession to be installed at the St. Michael’s School campus. What followed was an evening of devotion and prayer, thanksgiving and praise to God.
An hour long prayer service was led by the educationist and Couples for Christ member Mr AV Jose and his team.
One of the highlights of the evening was a variety programme based on the Bible events . Patna Women’s College presented ‘The Samaritan Woman’, Notre Dame Academy presented a dance on the parable of ‘the Wise and Foolish Virgins’, Kurji Holy Family Hospital College of Nursing presented a mime on Joseph the Dreamer, and St Joseph’s School Bankipore also presented a mime. Catechists from Nav Jyoti Niketan presented a song.