“As a cradle Catholic, I struggled to get past Genesis…!”
Those days are finally over for the 128 participants of The Bible Timeline at the Church of Our Lady Queen of Peace in Singapore, who spent twenty-four weeks unwrapping fourteen of the Old and New Testament books (Tweet this).
Unfolding the story of salvation, from Creation to the founding of the Church, the BTL provides a synthesized biblical narrative within a framework that ties together the rest of the seventy-three books of the Bible. So yes, one can complete reading the whole Bible!
It all started when Felicia Lee and some friends did the eight-week Quick Journey through the Bible (now called Unlocking the Mystery of the Bible). They were so happy with it that they unanimously decided to dive deeper and run the longer twenty-four week study.
They asked Felicia’s husband Vincent to be the first facilitator because he was the only one they knew who had read the Bible cover to cover. (This is not a necessary requirement for a facilitator, but it certainly didn’t hurt.) Over time, graduates of the Bible Timeline consistently heard the call to “pass it on” as facilitators themselves. Now Queen of Peace parish has over forty trained facilitators!
At the “graduation” Mass this year, parish priest Fr. Timothy Yeo commended the participants for persevering in their hunger for Jesus, the Living Word. During the closing celebration, participants shared how their lives had been transformed as they donned specially designed T-shirts that read:
73 books. 1 Story. Your Story.”
Many participants are grateful for the friendships formed from encountering the Word together, and the fellowship over food lovingly prepared by dedicated volunteers.
Now in its fifth year, The Great Adventure Bible studies at Queen of Peace are attended by a combination of Catholics, catechumens, as well as non-Catholics, a number of whom have signed up for the Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA) after completing the study. Vincent Lee has now been asked to head the faith formation program at his parish and The Great Adventure series will be the “key to success.”
Fr. Timothy shares his vision, “This is here to stay. The parish is committed to grow the numbers every year as part of our faith-formation outreach to build a more vibrant community. Come January 2016, we aim to have three sessions over the week. Let’s spread the Word!”
WHAT THE PARTICIPANTS SAY…
“It has been amazing! I experienced God being truly alive, and now see how I am involved in his salvation plan. I am no longer a heap of dry bones, but alive,” shared Sharon Tay, from Church of OLPS.
Michael Matthew Lee, also from OLPS attended the program with his wife, June Michaela. For them, their lives have changed “for the better, and our daily lectio divina enhanced.” His takeaway: “It is knowing Christ and knowing that he is always there for you.”
“I share the Bible readings with my children with more depth now, so it is really enriching, and so much better for us as a family,” Noeline Wong, a mother of three and then expecting her fourth child, excitedly adds.
For Rosalind Teo, “Going to Sunday Mass is now like heaven to me, because I finally understand the Word of God much better. This deeper understanding has allowed me to enjoy the homily, unlike previously when it depended on who was giving the homily!”
Steven Kwang, from the Church of St. Francis Xavier, shared how “appreciating the relevance of the Old Testament today affirms God’s unchanging love and promises, despite our unfaithfulness and disobedience. How can we not commit to seek every opportunity to show Jesus’s love in our lives?”
Baptised in 2014, Catherine Ong shares, “I felt the opening up of my mind and heart to receive the love of God, which has anchored me in my Catholic faith.” She urges new and young Catholics to go for it to “be enriched and rewarded.”
A 2014 participant, Cheryl Tang, recounted the discovery of God’s unique plan for her and her Anglican husband. “My husband and I had our children baptized, and we also solemnized our marriage vows in church.”
David Ong, a parishioner, adds, “The BTL makes it easy to navigate the books of the Bible and see the underlying salvation story thread throughout. It helps us to make connections of the stories with our daily lives so that the Bible becomes more accessible, understandable and relevant to Catholics.”
This article was submitted by Vincent Lee, Bible Study Coordinator at Queen of Peace Church, Singapore.
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