By Milagrosa, FLARE

Last October 18-22, 2010 at the EUNTES FORMATION CENTER, Sinunuc Zamboanga City, we the 17 participants had a workshop on Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) – New way of being a Church. The topic was given by the Bishop of Pagadian Diocese. Bishop Emmanuel Cabajar, C.Ss.R. DD.

Bp. Manny Cabajar, DD of Pagadian City

In his introduction Bishop Manny he presented one verse from the gospel of Luke 4: 43: “But he (Jesus) said to them, ‘I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.’ After giving his view point from the gospel he proceeded to touch the Asian context.

He noted how building up BEC is very important in relation to the Asian context in. “Family solidarity is seen as a source of strength. Although tensions and violent conflict exist, Asia also has a great capacity for accommodation and openness to mutual cultural and religion enrichment”.

Then, he followed up by considering the various economic, political, cultural situations and the Religious dimension. Considering the building the new way of being Church, he emphasizes the challenges of Vatican II as well as the challenges of Liberation Theology and the teachings of FABC.

In order for us to share our own experience and our understanding of building BEC he gave us group work.

The following were the questions he gave us: How will you start building and organizing BEC?  How will you go about it?  What will be the rationale?

In this way he tried to have us put into practice communion (Koinonia) while pointing out the importance of the 3 elements needed in building BEC, thais, Evangelizing, Organizing, and Mobilizing the Church.

He emphasized also the 3 levels of developing BEC: Liturgical focus on worship, Developmental response to the Economic needs, Liberational needs to transform the structural system.

To get in touch with the real situation we watched the movie “Sr. Estella L” which is focused on conversion from understanding to commitment, something very related to our topic. There is need of so much conversion and understanding in implementing Basic Ecclesial Communities. The movie re-enforced a lot of activities which are called liberational, a church living communion so that people participate, especially people in the margins.

A new way of being Church is a missionary church and is a faithful witness to the Risen Lord. Every local church and each of the members is sent to preach the word of God. To be in Asia is to be committed to dialogue not only in ideas but also in life, in faith experience, and of values. Since dialogue promotes understanding, openness, respect and humility, we can live in friendship as true partners as Christians. The topic was very interesting and very enriching especially because the  facilitator shared a lot of his personal experiences and that is the best way to learn.


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