by Jose Torres, Jr.
The role of women in Church and society took center stage in this year’s “Word Conference” in the Philippines where the relevance of the Scriptures in contemporary life was discussed.
“We reflect on the inspiring lives of women in the Bible whose faith is so great that even the smallest encounter of the Word is enough to change their lives — to touch their lives,” said Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, in a letter of endorsement for the event.
The whole day hybrid online and face-to-face conference was sponsored by the Claretian Missionaries in the Philippines and the Claretian Communications Foundation Inc. and carried the theme “Touch the Word: ‘If I just touch His clothing..” (Mark 5:28).
The theme is inspired by the image of the hemorrhagic woman’s faith in the Gospel.
In Mark 5:24-34, the woman prays in her heart that she will get well if she touches Jesus’ cloak. For the woman, the seam of Jesus’ clothing, “the Word living among us,” is enough to change her life.
Bishop David described the “Word Conference” as “continuing its mission to proclaim the Word as our source of life.”
“For the Word is our source of hope, our source of faith, and our source of joy … especially in these continued times of isolation and loneliness, times of emphasized difference instead of commonness, and moments of pain,” read a media briefer for the event.
The conference featured Scriptures scholars Sister Miriam Alejandrino, OSB, Sister Victoria Victorino, PDDM, Sister Jolanta Kafka, RMI, and Bishop David.
Sister Alejandrino, a member of the Benedictine Sisters of the Eucharistic King, obtained her Masters in Religious Education from Maryhill School of Theology in Quezon City; Licentiate in Monastic Theology from San Anselmo in Rome (1989); Licentiate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome; and Doctorate in Biblical Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University also in Rome.
Sister Victorino belongs to the Disciples of the Divine Master with a Master’s Degree from Maryhill School of Theology and a Licentiate in Biblical Theology from the Gregorian University. She was Secretary of The Catholic Biblical Association of the Philippines from 2014 – 2017.
Sister Jolanta Kafka RMI, has a licentiate in theology and is currently general superior of the Religious of Mary Immaculate, Claretian Missionary Sisters. She was former president of the International Union of Superiors General, a worldwide, canonically approved organization of superiors general institutes of Catholic women religious.
Bishop David has a Licentiate and a Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium.