Sr. Vincent Borromeo, RGS is a very special, unique person. She helps friends by letting them help in the Alay Kapwa-Bag-ong Kristohanong Katilingban. Ahead of many others, she decided to live with the common people by actually living in Carbon market. Now, most of her days are spent in Abono or in Basak being with the Alay Kapwa in their many activities: alternative education with the children and the youth, income generating activities, recollections, weekly meditation, and weekly Bible sharing. Twenty years ago, she wanted to help me cope with a failed relationship and asked me to be part of the Bible sharing sessions on Saturday afternoons.
After our sessions, the Alay Kapwa members thank me profusely. I have always told them I am very thankful to be a part of this community, because I have had so many blessings here. For instance, I have grown a lot by being a friend of Sr. Vincent. She never lets an opportunity to help the community pass without her action. During social functions she interacts with the people and discusses their activities and their needs. She invites them to our activities: Lenten and Advent Agape, Christmas programs, and other celebrations. Every year, Japanese Christians visit the different areas on a different kind of tour, an exposure to the disadvantaged communities. This has become a regular practice. I am often awed by the absence of hesitation to link people of different groups and the success in giving rise to a relationship of mutual generosity.
I have been enriched in many other ways. With this regular sensitive reading of the gospels, I learn about teaching from Jesus, the Teacher. For instance, I am reminded that I am precisely a teacher for those who learn slower or those who do not find my subject exciting, not for the brilliant students who can actually learn on their own. I am jolted out from complications and confusion and brought into simplicity. It is actually difficult to be in the social sciences, so I thank our GKK because here I encounter the actual situation in the Philippines and learn a great deal about gender studies: the multi-tasking of Filipino mothers who bring their children to our Bible sharing sessions; the economic challenges of third world women; the violence they experience in their lives.
So as I grew, I exerted effort to have a meaningful sharing and joined Fr. Melo’s sessions, read the Bible reflections in various publications and even requested for a Bible diary in the exchanging of gifts in UP. So we were very happy when Friends of Pedro Publication and Fr. Carmelo Diola, SSL released Pulong Pukot, for the deepening of the leaders’ reflections. We got several copies for Christmas gifts for the Alay Kapwa leaders.
This Christmas we have Ang Ebanghelyo to give as gifts to these leaders. We realize how important the use of the mother tongue is in communication. When I saw the name of Sr. Miriam Alejandrino, OSB, SSL in the invitation-program of the launching of Ang Ebanghelyo. I asked to be connected to her. I requested her to share her experience in the long process of bringing the gospels closer to the Cebuanos. So here is her sharing.
“This idea of translating the Bible, particularly the gospels first from the original Greek to Cebuano, was born during our first years of studies at the Pontifical Biblical Institute (BiBlicum) in Rome. There were two factors that motivated us: First was our desire to share the richness of God’s word as expressed in our mother tongue, Cebuano; and secondly the realization that the existing Cebuano versions are deficient in terms of nuances.
“We perceived God’s approval for this project when his Eminence Cardinal Vidal gave us not only his blessing to carry on the project but also his stipend from his Holy Mass at Collegio Filipino, 100,000 as initial fund for the project.
Our venture into this translation project has taught us (first we were only three: Fr. Carmelo Diola, Fr. Bill Larousse, and myself; later the group expanded into 9) lessons of trust in divine providence, patience with one self and others, humility before the powerful Word of God and gratitude that the Lord has given us the grace to experience the immensity of His word.
We were at the start short-handed in terms of finances and time. The translation had to be done along with our other duties in our Congregation/Community/Diocese.
Many lessons were learned from this translation project. The first is the difficulty of finding the word/words that would convey the message of the text in its original language, the Greek language. But the sharings/brainstormings not only with the exegetes but also with the language experts had greatly helped us come out with the word/words that are contemporary yet expressive of the original meaning. The second is that the Word of God is truly like a “two-edged sword, active and alive piercing the marrow of our bones.” Finally, after 12 years we have this translation published. That shows the power of the word of God. This Gospel book is proof that God has not given up on us. He kept inspiring us throughout those long years of work. Thirdly, this book would have not been published without generous people who have shared their time, talent, money and prayers to make the publication possible.”