Friday, August 17, 2007

Celebrating the Eucharist with the Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) of Spring Valley

Last night I celebrated the Eucharist with the BEC of Spring Valley in their community chapel. Over 120 people participated - a mix of adults and youth, men and women. After communion, 15 persons comprising the Council of Leaders made a renewal of the commitment to serve and lead the community. The council is composed of the over-all leader called Pangulo sa Katilingban, the lay liturgical leaders, the heads of committees (education, liturgy, social action, youth, finance) and the heads of the family groupings. We had agape -table fellowship - after the mass.

The BEC of Spring Valley is one of the 33 small Christian communities in the parish. It is an urban community with over 150 families. It is divided into 10 family groupings or BEC cells. The whole community gathers every Saturday evening in the chapel for bible-service led by lay liturgical leaders. During the week, the leaders conduct family evangelization (Visita Familia) in the homes of the members. The community mass is celebrated bi-monthly. There is a also a men's fellowship group that meets monthly. The young people have their own weekly bible-sharing. The community spirit in Spring Valley is impressive.

The activity of the community does not only revolve around spiritual matters. Several years ago, after I conducted an evangelization seminar, the community was encouraged to struggle for the land they have been occupying for over twenty years. They resisted the demolition team sent by a wealthy logger who claimed that land as his own in spite of a spurious title. The case has still to be resolved in the court.

They also have an income-generating project assisted by the micro-finance program of the parish.

The BEC in Spring Valley is a proof that BECs can thrive not only in rural areas but also in urban areas. In grassroots communities such as this, the Church is being renewed - the Church is experienced as a community of disciples, whose members live in communion or fellowship, and as evangelizing, worshipping and serving community, and as the Church of the Poor.

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