This is the main aim of the Archdiocesan Biblical Apostolate for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore (ABA) in promoting Sacred Scripture to Catholics in Singapore. So that the faithful may better pray with, share and live the Word of God, and witness to the Gospel, the ABA strives to cultivate a personal encounter with Christ through a number of key initiatives.
Faith formation and empowerment of the laity
ABA focuses on identifying, promoting and coordinating resources for Catholic Bible study, both foreign and home-grown. Many priests in Singapore are Bible scholars who give lectures, open to everyone, throughout the year; ABA assists in coordinating these sessions so that Catholics can attend one or more every weekday.
And, as nearly 60% of Singapore parishes have their own Biblical Apostolate Teams (BATs) which offer various programmes such as Breakings of the Word for Sunday readings and thematic biblical studies, ABA seeks to work closely with the BATs too.
All these faith formation efforts have led to an increasing number of small communities which study and pray with Sacred Scripture; ABA hopes to organise, on a regular basis, facilitation skills training to ensure these are properly facilitated and led.
The number of laypersons who are pursuing or have obtained formal academic qualifications in Bible studies, at both overseas institutions and in Singapore’s own Catholic Theological Institute, is also increasing. Many successful Bible programmes are now led by laypersons under the spiritual direction of their parish priests. The ABA is looking closely at how laypersons, properly trained and supervised, can be more involved and formed.
Response to Covid-19
Although the Covid-19 situation put a stop to many daily activities, parishes were quick to switch to online platforms for their Bible programmes. There has been a noticeable increase in attendance; for those with limited mobility or limited time due to family and work commitments, online study is more convenient. On the flip side, meeting online meeting is not as conducive for forming community. Nonetheless, it is probable that online programmes are here to stay.
St Jerome famously stated that “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” With the number and variety of Bible programmes now available to Catholics in Singapore, there are now more opportunities than ever to discover and know the treasures of the Bible better.
If you would like to learn more about the availability of such programmes or if you would like to start or find a Bible study
group, please contact ABA: their website is https://biblicalapostolate.wordpress.com/ .
Contributed by Archdiocesan Biblical Apostolate