Participants line up and take their turn in transcribing their assigned passages
Roland Repato eased himself into a chair and put the full weight of his hands on the table. Holding a pen and guiding it across a piece of paper, he carefully inked, word for word, a breathtaking verse from the Book of Genesis. “I was tense and nervous, but I am honored to be part of history,” he said after completing his task. He was taking part in the launch of the Handwritten Unity Bible project, which was held last week at Vigan city’s school of La Nuestra Senora de Caridad in Nueva Segovia archdiocese. Repato is one of 200 people in northern Luzon who have joined in the monumental endeavor of writing out the Bible by hand. Organized by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, it also involves the Episcopal Commission for the Biblical Apostolate, the Philippine Bible Society
and other Christian churches as partners. The stated aim of this ecumenical project is to “bring together Filipinos nationwide to celebrate God’s word as a concrete expression of Christian unity.” Penning 35,656 verses from the 78 books of the Bible is clearly a mammoth undertaking and has started modestly, with relatively low numbers of participants. However, the Bible Society is confident that numbers will swell between July and December, as its affiliates step up efforts to engage more people in the project. “So far, various private organizations have pledged to provide their support and cooperation with the project,” said Pearl Cabrera, one of the organizers. “You become part of history when you join this project, and this is a rare opportunity that will be hard to ignore.” Cabrera added that 160 verses, from the books of Genesis and the Psalms, have been gathered from the early stages of the project in northern Luzon and filed with the Handwritten Unity Bible secretariat.