The National Biblical Catechetical & Liturgical Centre (NBCLC) is a National Centre of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI). It was founded in the year 1967, after the Second Vatican Council to promote the renewal of the Church in an Indian context. It serves the three Ritual Churches in the country.
The NBCLC has been entrusted primarily with the task of helping all Catholics in India realize that they cannot be faithful followers of Christ without being fully human, loyal and committed citizens of the Indian Republic, blessed with a rich cultural-religious heritage, facing the challenging task of creating a human future for her millions.
Fr.D.S. Amalorpasvadass, who pioneered the vision of the Centre, was appointed as the first Director of the Centre in October 1966. The centre was erected on 6 Feb 1967. Till date, this day is celebrated as the foundation day of NBCLC. The Centre was officially inaugurated by His Eminence late Valerian Cardinal Gracias, President of the CBCI on 7 March 1967.
During the first 15 years, more than 25,000 persons participated in one way or the other in the programmes of the Centre, as it systematically and creatively promoted and implemented the vision of Vatican II. NBCLC from its humble beginnings has focused on seminars, research in the fields of Bible, Catechetics and Liturgy, publication of journals, animation of various commissions of the three Ritual Churches in India and expression of faith through Indian art and culture. Till today, 77,338 persons have benefited through the courses and seminars .
In the initial years the Christian Life Commission for the Bible, Liturgy and Catechetics came under the umbrella of the NBCLC. But as soon as the Ritual Churches were separated from the Central Bishops’ Conference, known as the CBCI, the Individual Ritual Churches took charge of the Commissions for Bible, Liturgy and Catechetics. This took place in the year 1992 at the General Meeting of the CBCI held in Pune.
Now that the Commissions do not function under the umbrella of the Centre, we concentrate on providing animation, formation, resource material and research in the three areas. The coordination of the Commissions at the national, regional and diocesan levels is handled by the Commissions of the three Ritual Churches. Fortunately in the recent past, we have begun numerous collaborative efforts with the Commissions of the CCBI. The Commissions of the CCBI invited the Director of the NBCLC to participate in the Commissions for Bible, Catechetics and Proclamation. Collaboration with the other Ritual Churches is still a hope that needs to be fulfilled.
The NBCLC has grown to great heights under the able leadership of its Directors beginning with Fr. Amalorpavadass, followed by Fr. Paul Puthanangadysdb, Fr. Jacob Theckanath, Fr. Thomas D’Sa, Fr. CleophasD.Fernandes and presently Fr. Sagaya John.
From its humble beginnings, the Centre gradually developed into the present structure with its various services. It is indeed an instrument of the Spirit for the renewal of the Church in India.
DIRECTORS OF THE CENTRE
1. Fr.D.S.Amalorpavadass (late) (Founder & First Director) February 1967 – September 1982
2. Fr.Paul Puthanangady, sdb September 1982 – May 1991
3. Fr.Jacob Theckanath June 1991 – October 2001
4. Fr.Thomas D’Sa November 2001 – June 2008
5. Fr.Cleophas D.Fernandes July 2008 – June 2014
6. Fr. Sagaya John July 2014 onwards
NBCLC – Important Events
NBCLC RUBY JUBILEE
The year 2007 marked the Ruby Jubilee of NBCLC founded forty years ago in 1967.
The Theme of the Celebration was: “Retelling the Story of Jesus & Widening the Horizons”. “The mission of NBCLC has to be continued in a vigorous way to take on the challenges that the church faces today. The present world and its concern are different both in substance and style when compared with those when the NBCLC was founded forty years ago. While being grounded in its original mission and vision the centre has to broaden the arena and to widen its horizons so that it resonates with the call and claim of the present epoch and thus become a competent agency to do the work of the Lord. Accordingly a new way of conceiving and doing the mission of the NBCLC has been envisioned, namely: “Retelling the Story of Jesus & widening the Horizons”. (Writes Fr. Thomas D’Sa., the then Director of NBCLC).
14 April 2008: Fr. Cleophas Fernandes from the Archdiocese of Mumbai take charge as the Fifth Director of NBCLC.
30 April – 20 May: “Art & Culture in the service of the Word (Workshops in Music and dance):
As part of NBCLC’s mission in inculturation, a summer course in dance and Music was organized. 94 students (boys and girls) from different parts of our country took part in it.
02 – 21 November: “Pastoral Renewal Course for Priests”:
2008 being the year for the Priests”, a three –week course, the first of its kind was organized exclusively for the Priests (diocesan & religious). The four-fold objects of the course were: 1. A Spiritual Journey: through an Indian contemplative Retreat); 2. An Intellectual Journey: through lectures and study sessions; 3. A Pastoral journey: through analysis and reflection on pastoral experiences; exposure to new possibilities and pastoral skills etc; 4. A Community Journey: through honest and open exchange with brother priests, building-up bonds of enriching fellowship.
6 March 2010: 43rd Centers Day:
Saturday, 6 February 2010 marked the 43rd Centres Day. It was a day of celebration and thanksgiving. The main event of the day was the Inter-religious Prayer Service at 6.15pm with the theme “Celebrate Fullness of Life – the Tree of Life”. The prayer was held at the Ceramic Murals, beautifully decorated with flowers and lighted lamps. A small tree was placed in a painted earthen pot at the centre to highlight the theme of the day.
22- 23 March: Revisioning of the Centre
Twenty seven delegates who have been associated with the Centre were invited for this important event. The main thrust of the consultation was to review:
1. The Vision and Mission of the Centre;
2. The functioning of the Centre;
3. How do we concretize the Vision and Mission?
Through workshops and sharing many important views and ideas were expressed. The Centre is engaged in re-discovering a fresh identity so that it can offer a new thrust to its ministry.
29 – 31 Mar: Seminar on Verbum Domini (Synod Document & its Pastoral Implications)
This was the first joint venture of the NBCLC (National Biblical, Catechetical & Liturgical Centre of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India) and the CCBI, Biblical Commission of the Latin Bishops. Verbum Domini, the brilliant Post-Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Benedict was the focus of the study which attracted 92 delegates including Bishops, priests, religious and the laity. It was a three days seminar that traced the trends from ‘Dei Verbum’ (Vatican II) to ‘Verbum Domini’. Very insightful papers were presented by Bishops Gali Bali; Susaimanickam; Thomas Dabre and Frs Lucien Legrand, mep; Paul Puthanangady, sdb; Cleophas Fernandes and Jacob Theckanath. The seminar looked at the contents of the Post-Synodal document and its implications for the Biblical apostolate in India. We feel very certain that this document will have a far-reaching impact on the Biblical ministry. The document says, “There is no greater priority than this: to enable the people of our time…to encounter God, the God who speaks…” (Verbum Domini 2).
08 – 10 Feb: XVI Annual General Body Meeting of the Indian Catechetical Associationwith its theme: New Paradigms for Youth Catechesis. 80 members took part in this meeting.
21 – 24 June: Hosted the National Colloquium of the CCBI for the National Pastoral Plan. There were about 250 delegates.
16 – 21 July: We hosted the Vatican appointed delegation to study the language issue in Karnataka state. The delegation comprised of Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil, sdb., Bishop Agnelo Gracias and Bishop Thomas Dabre.
03 Sept: Visit of Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Auxiliary Bishop of Manila. He gave a lecture on the “Word to the world” as indicated by Verbum Domini.
NBCLC Organizes National Research Seminar on Adult Faith
Bangalore: As the Year of Faith concluded all over the world on 24 November 2013, NBCLC continued the Year of Faith to reflect on the quality of adult faith with research papers from scholars from all over India from 10 December to 14 December at NBCLC, Bangalore. The scholars ranged from theological, philosophical, pastoral, ecumenical and socio-cultural sector to provide a synthetic tapestry of adult faith today.
The Research seminar was attended by 103 participants from all over India. The participants consisted of bishops, professors of seminaries, post graduate students from major seminaries, theological students from ecumenical theologates, lay animators, pastoral scholars and activists, clergy and Religious. On the first day, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the president of CBCI and CCBI inaugurated the Research Seminar with his keynote address on Francis’ first Encyclical, Lumen Fidei and first Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium. The other bishops who were present, were Archbishop Thomas Menamparambil SDB, Archbishop Bernard Moras, Archbishop Anthony Felix Machado and Bishop Dabre who is the Chairman of NBCLC. At the beginning of the seminar, Fr. Cleophas Fernandez, the former director of NBCLC and the main organizer of the Seminar briefed the audience on the dynamics of the seminar. The seminar integrated research papers and workshops to provide a holistic view of the theme from research and ground level. The days of the seminar were enhanced by prayerful and reflective liturgical animation of Fr. GilbertChoondal, sdb. The seminar ended with a statement that calls for pastoral action on the theme.