The Pastoral Bible Foundation and Claretian Publications have organized a felicitation gathering for its Founder Director, Fr. Alberto Rossa and for Divine De Leon who completed 25 years of her service with the Publications on 12 February in the Chokwan Convention Centre, Colowan, Macau. The concelebrated Eucharistic celebration was presided over by Cardinal Gaudencio Borbon Rosales, the Archbishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Manila.
“I know Fr Rossa for the past 38 years”, said cardinal Rosales during his homily. He recalled the days of Fr Rossa in Zamboanga in the Philippines as a parish priest. Later, when he shifted his ministry into multimedia and printing ministry, like everyone else, Cardinal too was skeptical. "I miscalculated this man" , he said. "He was not just tall, but also had a tall vision". When he brought in big machines to the printing press that marked the growth and development of the Claretian Publications in the Philippines. Fr. Rossa was instrumental in establishing the Publications in the Philippines 36 years ago to promote a new model of being Church. In order to provide a focused attention to Bible and related material, he later founded the Pastoral Bible Foundation 20 years ago.
On the 25 years of service of Ms Divine with the Publications, the Cardinal said that the tall Rossa and short Divine provided the perfect balance for the growth and development of the publications.
Commenting on the readings of the day, the Cardinal stated that the Lord has given us the greatest gift – our free will and freedom of choice and the capacity to choose life, and to choose what is right. He encouraged the faithful “not to be satisfied with mere ordinary, rather do something more, give something more, seek something more and be something more!
Over 100 friends of Divine and Fr. Rossa from the Philippines, Mainland China, Macau and Hong Kong participated in the Eucharistic celebrations concelebrated by 11 priests.
During the felicitation gathering, the Claretian Publications and Communications of the Philippines, and Amity Printing Company of Nanjing expressed their gratitude and appreciation to Fr. Rossa for his association with them in his dedicated service to the Word of God for more than three decades. Fr. Dennis, CMF the Director of the Claretian Publications presented a plaque to Fr. Rossa and to Divine, acknowledging their contributions to the Ministry of the Word of God.
Mr. Li Chunnong, the former General Manager of Nanjing Amity Printing Corporation traced back his association with Fr. Rossa, which began over 20 years ago. “The Claretians were our first overseas clients and this was a difficult decision to make”, recalled Mr. Li. What we value is not just the business, but much more than that, the friendship and trust that we have developed over the years”, remarked Mr. Li. He acknowledged “the Amity printing gained a lot from its associations with Fr. Rossa as he promoted the company wherever he went – in Frankfurt Book fair and other places. Fr. Rossa and the Claretian Publications have played a role in making Amity Printing the largest Bible printing press in the world today”. Today Amity printing company has over 600 employees of which only three per cent are Christians, has printed over 150 Million Bibles, in 90 different languages distributed all around the world.
In the absence of Mr. Luke Liu, the General Manager of the Amity Printing, his representative, Mr. Yu Hong read out his felicitation message. In his message, Mr. Liu wished that the long-standing relationship with Claretian Publications and PBF continued in the future as well. Amity Printing prepared two special gifts for Fr. Rossa – Custom-made Copies of the Christian Community Bible in Spanish and English. To understand the enormity of the gift – the whole the printing machinery was put to work just to print one copy of the Bible – just for Fr. Rossa!
Fr. Rossa, in his inimitable style of running away from the limelight, began with a question: “Who killed the messenger? Where in the Bible do you find this expression?” This Shakespearean expression (Don’t shoot [kill] the messenger) means that do not punish the messenger for bringing the unpleasant news. His point was that “do not praise the messenger and do not stop with the messenger, instead, praise the message”. “This celebration is not about the people but about the message”, said Fr. Rossa. He thanked everyone who contributed in this shared mission over the past 36 years of Ministry to the Word.