Papal Nuncio at 30th Anniversary of Word & Life
Makati, Manila, The Philippines, 17 October 2019 -- At the 30th Anniversary of the Catholic publisher, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, His Excellency, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, DD, said that Don Bosco is, in a way, present in Word & Life Publications. St. John Bosco, the founder of the Salesians, heeded the call of Jesus to help people know him and go to him. In the same way, the Papal Nuncio explained, “Word & Life has, as its origin, this desire that people can know Jesus, that people can go to Jesus to find consolation, to find hope, strength, courage, guidance, and inspiration.”
In his homily at the Thanksgiving Mass held at the St. John Bosco Parish in Makati on 11 October 2019, the Papal Nuncio assured Word & Life, and all the Salesian Family, of the gratitude, blessings, and support of Pope Francis, whom he represents.
Also present at the celebration were Bishop Roberto Mallari, DD, Chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education, Msgr. Gabriel Viola, First Councilor of the Apostolic Nunciature to the Philippines, and Fr. Gerardo Martin, SDB, Provincial of the Salesian North Province.
Word & Life Publications was established by Fr. Salvatore “Sal” Putzu, SDB in 1989 as the country was celebrating the National Bible Year. He was inspired by God to start the publishing company, even if he did not have the resources, because he wanted to help Filipinos know the Bible better and help them put God’s Word into practice in their daily lives. Hence, the name: Word & Life.
For the past thirty years, the award-winning publisher has produced Bible study materials like Exploring God’s Word and Ang Bagong Salita at Buhay, missalettes (Euchalette and Patnubay sa Misa), and the very helpful aid for catechists Pambatang Katekesis. Word & Life Magazine, its maiden publication, has been elevated to the Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA) Hall of Fame for Best Youth Magazine in 2018.
Word & Life Publications also published the definitive sources of what the Catholic Church really teaches like the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) and the Catechism for Filipino Catholics (CFC), which are both available in English and Tagalog, and the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. It also publishes the Pope’s teachings – encyclicals and apostolic letters, like the most recent Christus Vivit – and enriches them with Subject Indexes and other Study Aids that are very helpful to priests, religious, and lay people in understanding and applying them better.
Word & Life Publications also fulfilled its long-cherished dream of publishing the Bible when it co-published, with the Claretians and St. Pauls, the Christian Community Bible in English, Tagalog, and Cebuano.
Word & Life has also been instrumental in introducing in the Philippines the New Way of the Cross through its innovative leaflets, pamphlets, and posters that highlight the Biblical passages for each of the 14 stations. It was also the first to introduce and promote the Easter counterpart of the Way of the Cross, which is The Trail of Light (Via Lucis), a favorite devotion of Pope (now Saint) John Paul II. Word & Life also contributed greatly in the promotion of the Rosary, with the new Mysteries of Light introduced by Pope John Paul II, through its leaflets, pamphlets, posters, and even PowerPoint and DVD.
Aside from print media, Word & Life Publications, in cooperation with Word Media Ministry (WMM), is also present on radio through its weekly program, Bisperas sa Veritas, which started airing in 2004. It also has a significant presence in the internet with its website (www.wordandlife.org), Facebook page (Word & Life Publications), and YouTube channel (WordandLifeBarkada), which are helpful, especially for Filipinos in other countries.
Reflecting on the contributions of Word & Life, the Papal Nuncio remarked, “This small seed that was planted 30 years ago has become a big tree.” He added that this “initiative that was started many years ago, in very difficult conditions, without any means, has really become a tool not just for this parish, not just for the Salesians, but for all the Church in the Philippines.”
Arch. Caccia asked who could have imagined then what Word & Life Publications would be or could do. But he explained, “God reveals to us our possibilities – that shouldn’t be measured with our meager (imagination) but with the imagination of God.” So he thanked Fr. Salvatore, who was also celebrating his 81st birthday, “because he was listening to the inspiration – following the dream like Don Bosco – of something good for the Church, for the people here in the Philippines.”
In response, Fr. Sal unveiled his new dream: to see the Philippines really become the leader in evangelization and catechesis in Asia – a challenge previously given by Popes Paul VI, John Paul II, and Francis, when they visited the country. Fr. Sal explained, “We are the third largest Catholic population in the world. We should become a catechetical superpower. Then we’ll see. Miracles will happen!” This is the work he sees not only for Word & Life but for the whole of the catechetical ministry. He concluded, “We will look forward with assuredness because this is the work of God. Let us pray and do it that it may become a reality. The dream has to become a reality.”