Q&A with Sir Mario Paredes

Q&A with Sir Mario Paredes


Mario J. Paredes, K.G.C.H.S., is a member of American Bible Society’s Board of Trustees and former Director of ABS Catholic Ministries. He is Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Board for Catholic Association of Latino Leaders (CALL) and serves as president of the North American-Chilean Chamber of Commerce of New York and vice president of Gabriela Mistral Foundation. He was created Knight Grand Cross of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in 2012.

Q: The American Bible Society was founded by Protestants 200 years ago. In the last few decades, however, many Catholics have connected with American Bible Society’s mission and have been working with and in the organization. How do you see Protestants and Catholics coming together to accomplish this mission? 01

American Bible Society carries forward its mission to distribute God’s word in the Bible without proselytism or dogmatism; not as a platform to defend Protestantism in the world; not to promote, defend or attack doctrinal postures—but as a service to the world to aid in the enlightenment of human life and the unity of the mystical Body of Christ through the knowledge, study and propagation of the Bible, which is the foundation of the Christian faith.

The outreach of American Bible Society to Catholics came in the wake of the Vatican II Ecumenical Council, which emphasized the centrality of the word of God in the life and activity of the Catholic Church. Now Catholic and Protestant work together for the fulfillment of Jesus’ desire: “That they all might be one” (John 17:20). This desire, this disposition, has become the task of the Church, of every person and community in all the world that believes in Christ: that we all might become one, as the Father and the Son are one.

Jesus’ desire defines the ecumenical task of Christian churches in the world. And this ecumenism is embodied in the collaboration between different churches and denominations to publish, distribute, present, promote and offer encounters with the sacred Scriptures.

Q: What are some of the specific ways American Bible Society is working with and in the Catholic Church? 02

American Bible Society collaborated in the Synod of the Catholic Church on the Bible, in which Dr. Dennis Dickerson, former president of the Board of Trustees, and I participated as observers. In the solemnity of that occasion, American Bible Society donated to the Catholic Church a special edition of 1,000 copies of the Polyglot Bible (in five languages: Hebrew, Greek, Latin, English and Spanish) for distribution among the Synodal Fathers and as gifts presented by the Pope in audiences with heads of state and other high-level dignitaries.

The flagship program of the ecumenical and interconfessional task has, in recent years, been Lectio Divina, the methodology by which the word of God is read and reflected upon in prayer. Through the partnership of American Bible Society and Libreria Editrice Vaticana (the Vatican editorial house), a manual for practicing Lectio Divina has been published in three languages: English, Spanish and Italian.

American Bible Society has been present in worldwide youth activities organized by the Vatican in Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and soon Krakow to distribute the Bible and resources to young Catholic attendees. The organization also presented a petition, which was approved last year by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, to celebrate a nationwide annual Week of the Bible for Catholics.

American Bible Society participated in the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia by partnering with the Pontifical Council for the Family to develop a polyglot edition of the Gospel of St. Luke, of which half a million copies were distributed. This special edition features a dedication by Pope Francis, a foreword by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia and an introduction by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family. In addition, American Bible Society created a series of biblical messages supporting the World Meeting of Families.

The effort concerning the written word of God that motivates the daily activity of American Bible Society is a magnificent testimony and beautiful evidence of the evangelizing zeal, both ecclesial and personal, that every Christian should assume in the fulfillment of the command of our divine Master: “Go throughout the whole world and preach the gospel to all people” (Mark 16:15).

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