This morning I celebrated mass in Belisario Heights - an upper class subdivision/village. Around 150 residents came. Instead of preaching a brief homily after the gospel I gave a 40-minute powerpoint presentation about Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs). Within the coming months I will be helping in the evangelizing and organizing process in this village. This is part of the efforts to form BECs in the upper class villages in the parish.
There are already 33 BECs in our parish. Most of these are found in lower class areas. There are some that are in middle class subdivisions. It is only recently that we have started the process of forming BECs in the upper class villages.
BECs are small communities of Catholic Christians whose members experience a sense of belonging and responsibility for one another. They are close to each other and share their resources with one another. They come together regularly to reflect on the Word of God. They also pray together and celebrate the Eucharist. They are not only concerned about spiritual matters - they also discuss the problems that they face (social, economic, political, environmental) and find ways to address these. They work for total human development, peace and justice. They live simply and are concerned about the poor and help empower the poor. The first Christian community in Jerusalem as recorded in Acts (2:42-47, 4:32-35) is the model of BECs. Communities like this are emerging all over the country and through these the vision of a renewed Church promoted by Vatican II and the second Plenary Council of the Philippines is becoming a reality. I wrote my doctoral dissertation on BECs at the Gregorian University (Rome) over a decade ago.
This afternoon I attended a meeting of the Parish Social Action Commission (PSAC). I am an adviser of this commission which is composed of lay people and has the task of monitoring the situation of the BECs and coordinating their efforts to respond to the social, economic and political situation of these communities. The commission has started doing environmental scanning and drawing up a SWOT analysis - part of the process of strategic planning.