NAZARETH – On March 25th, the day of the Feast of the Annunciation, the final round of the Holy Land Bible Competition, an initiative meant to encourage Christian affiliation and to develop people’s knowledge of the Bible, was held at the St Anthony Pastoral Center (Nazareth), in the presence of Mgr Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.
Launched ten years ago, the Holy Bible Competition is an ecumenical event open to all and where participants, divided into age groups, must show their knowledge and comprehension of the Holy Scriptures by answering a series of questions in front of a jury. The winners get to go on a pilgrimage to the Vatican to meet the Pope.
"This initiative brought knowledge of the Scriptures among our youth, but also to families and parents," said Mgr Pizzaballa during his opening speech. "I can only express my appreciation for it and for all other initiatives that let us know better our Christian roots here in the Holy Land. Usually, initiatives like these come from our priests, but this time we've been stressed by the people to do this. Which is good; you should do that more often," he added, before thanking all the organizers and concluding with a final blessing.
Since 2012, five competitions took place, four intended for people between 10 and 35 years old, and two for people older than 35. The sixth one, which concluded on March 25th, was for young people, who competed against each other for more than three hours in front of three judges; two priests and one sister. Each participant had to go to three rounds and was graded based on their performance after each round. The first round consisted of accurately recounting a part of the Bible; the second round of guessing the identity of a biblical figure; and the third round of answering a series of trick questions by true or false.
According to its administrative board, the Holy Bible Competition's precise objective is "to encourage the Christian affiliation of our children and families, by urging them to deepen the positive religious thought stemming from the love of others, by promoting fraternity between religions and by developing a sense of belonging among the youth of the Holy Land to the Church and to the Land of the Bible."