The convention started at 2:30 PM with an opening prayer and Bible enthronement (photos: 1, 2, 3, 4). After a brief orientation by Leander Barrot, OAR (photo: 1), head of the organizing committee, Victor Nicdao (photo: 1), CBAP President, gave the welcome address and progress report to the plenary assembly. He enumerated the various activities of the association since the last convention and thanked various people and institutions that helped the association. This was followed by the audited financial report of Gil Alinsangan, SSP, CBAP Treasurer.
Bernie Dianzon, FSP, chair of the membership committee, presented one new member of the CBAP. After the assembly discussed and approved the proposal of having a new category of associate membership in the CBAP, Bernie also presented the six candidates for associate members: Benita Esguerra; Martha Gamolo, DC; Hansel Mapayo, SSP; Kristine Meneses; Natividad Mirasol; and Carmelo Sorita.
Cielito Almazan, OFM (photo: 1), professor of Our Lady of Angels Seminary in Novaliches, presented the theme of the convention "Bible and Ecology" (photo: 1) and its relevance for today's world – a world that has become suddenly aware of global warming and climate change, and has recently experienced the devastation wrought by the Pinatubo eruption, the Indian Ocean tsunami, and hurricane Katrina. What does the Bible have to say about natural disasters and people's responsibility toward mother earth?
After the merienda break, Cristino Pine, OFM (photo: 1), introduced the first major speaker Bienvenido Baisas, OFM (photo: 1). Benny, as he is fondly called, studied Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, and under the tutelage of the late Michel Dahood, explored Ugaritic as a means of understanding the Hebrew Bible. Benny is not only an academician, but also a well-sought spiritual director and formator of a number of Franciscan houses and congregations in the Philippines.
In his paper "A Renewed Re-Reading of the Priestly Creation Story with a Special Consideration of the Hebrew Verbs rdh and kbš in Gen. 1:26-28," Benny concluded that "it was the catastrophe to 586 BCE with the destruction of the Temple, the end of the monarchy, the devastation of the land, and the exile…that impelled P to give a new ray of hope towards the promise of shalom and well-being. In the P creation story, P used old stories and elements of those stories, giving them new meanings and purpose in view of answering severe God-questions the exiles and post-exiles posed. God creates creation! This is supreme confession of the story.... Indeed P's use of rdh and kbš could be misleading if taken at their face value…. The "hermeneutical dance" suggested by our late colleague Anthony R. Ceresko…has enabled us to see nuances which I believe ground well our eco-justice teaching in response to challenges of the ecological disaster…." After Benny's lecture, a lively open forum followed.
The first day ended with a Mass presided by Noe de los Santos (photo: 1), Rector of Mater Salutis Seminary in the Diocese of Legazpi. The cocktail and dinner gave the participants opportunity to socialize and renew friendship (photos: 1, 2, 3).
Randy Flores (photo: 1) was the moderator of the first day.