For the last four weeks, I have been engaged in what I consider my life's primary mission - promoting Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) as new way of being Church. It is not really new - it is the vision of the Church as a community of disciples where the members live in communion (unity, friendship, sharing, partnership) and participate in Christ's mission as a worshipping, witnessing and serving community. This is a Church patterned after the first Christian community in Jerusalem as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2:42-47, 4:32-35). This is the vision of the Church that was retrieved by the Second Vatican Council that called for the renewal of the Church. This is the same vision of the Church promoted by the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines.
I have been involved in the formation of BECs for over thirty years - first as a seminarian and later as a newly ordained priest. I wrote a licentiate thesis on this phenomenon while studying in Berkeley, California (1989-1991) and while studying at the Gregorian University in Rome, I also wrote my doctoral dissertion on the Ecclesiological Perspectives of the BECs in the Philippines.
Since 1995 up the present, I have been giving talks and seminars on BECs in 17 dioceses and in various regional and national conferences.
Four weeks ago, I was in Bangalore, India to attend a theological conference on BECs. When I arrived back in the Philippines, I immediately proceeded to Calbayog, Samar to give a talk during their diocesan BEC congress. When I came back to Davao, I gave a BEC seminar to the trainees of the Philippine Catholic Lay Missionaries. A few days ago, I was in Bacolod to share my experiences with diocesan seminary formators from all over the Philippines. I was amazed when I learned that in many seminaries, the BEC culture is being lived among the seminarians and that many have exposure and immersion program in BECs. All of these are signs of hope for the Church which for a long time have been dominated by the image of the Church as a huge, bureaucratic institution. We continue to implement the vision of a renewed Church which Vatican II promoted. I consider it my life's mission to promote this vision of the Church.