Excitement, wonder and a sense of joyful worship was evident at the inaugural day of the Patna Archdiocesan Bible Festival, the Bible Mahotsav. The three- day long event will feature sermons, prayer, Holy mass, singing, cultural events, and a quiz, all based on the Bible.
The first Grand event of the year long Patna Archdiocesan Centenary celebrations, the Bible Mahotsav signifies the acknowledgement as the Word of God as fundamental to the life of the Catholic people, the foundation of their creed, and the source of all good and positive action.
Groups of people from near and far began to arrive at the Queen of Apostles Church in Kurji. By four in the afternoon, there were hundreds of people, the young and brightly turned out, first communicants in their virginal white all ready to perform their ceremonial role at the start of the procession, the middle aged, the elderly. They came from small towns and villages, some with banners, others with flags, representing their ‘deanery’ or their church. This was a gathering of the faithful.
A team of enthusiastic singers belted our ‘bhajans’, hymns of praise in the local folk style. People milled around, some busy getting their meal cards and badges at the registration desk , others meeting and greeting old friends and of course, whipping out their cell phones for the ‘mandatory’ selfie. There were priests in their cassocks, and nuns as well.
Proceedings started off with the rosary, and then Archbishop William D’Souza SJ, and Coadjutor Bishop Sebastian Kallupura signalled the start of the symbolic procession from the Church to the St Michael’s school grounds. The Bible was carried in a majestic procession and installed with solemnity at the venue.
Archbishop William D’Souza in his inaugural address spoke of the importance of the Word of God, which is the foundation of Christian life.
Referring to Saint Teresa of Avila and her life of prayer, prayer based on the Bible, in search of Jesus, he said she showed a way to live close to Jesus through a prayer-filled life. “The second important thing was her personal experience of Jesus in her life, giving us an example of how prayer, and a life based on the Bible, can lead to salvation.” Quoting Saint Jerome, the first translator of the Bible from the Greek to latin, he said, “The ignorance of the Bible is the ignorance of Jesus. If we are not familiar with our Bible, then we do not know or understand Jesus.”
The cultural items that followed were a delight to behold. 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. Some youngsters from Kurji parish presented their own idea of a religious rock song in Hindi.
The first evening would end with post-supper adoration.
On October 16 (Tuesday), the day starts at 6:30 am with a series of prayer sessions. The highlights of the Day are Holy Mass led by Coadjutor Bishop Sebastian Kallupura at 10:45AM in the church, in the evening, there will be a Bible Quiz on the Gospel of St. Luke, and a variety cultural show by the visiting delegates from different Parishes of South Bihar, at St. Michael’s Primary School.
October 17 is the concluding day, beginning with the Bible procession to the Church. The concluding mass will be led by Archbishop William D’Souza SJ at 10.45 AM.