The Word of God as a seed and first instrument of mission: it is with this spirit that the Apostolic Vicariate of Nepal launched an online biblical course specifically dedicated to the laity to help people grow in spirituality and faith during the pandemic coronavirus. As Agenzia Fides learns the course is held directly by Bishop Paul Simick, Apostolic Vicar of Nepal, and is held in Nepalese. It includes an hour of online meeting every Saturday. Completely free, it started on September 12th and will run for several months.
“These weekly lessons on the Bible are intended for the laity to rediscover the treasures of the Word of God, in this time of pandemic”, explained to Agenzia Fides Bishop Simick, who obtained a doctorate in biblical theology at the Pontifical Urbaniana University, in Rome.
According to Father Samuel Lepcha, priest of the Vicariate, “this is a truly commendable decision. People appreciate this effort and find great benefit: the initiative allows us to spread and deepen the Word of God, the foundation of our faith”. Furthermore, in this way an umbilical cord is kept alive between the leaders of the local Church and the faithful scattered in various parts of the country and in need of a direct relationship, on a human and spiritual level, with priests and religious.
Nepalese lay Catholics greatly appreciate the initiative: “We thank Bishop Simick. He helps us to go to the roots of faith; it is very interesting to know the sources and origins of our religion”, said to Fides Fidelma Tuladhar, a Catholic woman who is attending the course.
Rose Pradhan, a woman and mother, explains that “since our churches are closed due to Covid-19 and currently it is not possible to celebrate the Sacraments in community, the exegesis and biblical insights offered by the Bishop are a source of learning, nourish our spirit and strengthen faith”.
Catholics make up a small portion of Nepal’s Christian population, which is mostly Protestant. According to the Nepal Catholic Directory, there are about 8,000 Catholics in the country, mainly in the eastern region.