Sorsogon reports BEC growth

SORSOGON City, March 23, 2014 – The number of small Christian communities or Saradit na Kristianong Komunidad (SKK) in the local tongue has grown remarkably in the span of five years as the diocese continues to give an extra push to engage more parishioners.

In 2009, the diocese had only 6 active SKK or Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC). In 5 years, the number of organized BECs has grown to 64.

Organizing and the strengthening of BECs had been the main push of the last quinquennium, said Rev. Fr. Philippe Andrew B. Gallanosa, the diocese’s Commission on Media for Evangelization (CME) head. The assessment of the progress of these small communities is “very positive and the Bishop (Most Rev. Arturo M. Bastes) likes it very much,” he said.

The volume of faithful during masses is suggestive of further growth in the number of BECs, Fr. Gallanosa said. In Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral alone, 7 masses are celebrated on Sundays, each is full of people, plus 8 masses outside.

The diocese, in its continuing commitment to the BECs, also continues to oppose the current geothermal prospects in the province as geothermal explorations, and consequently, operations would devastate the environment in the area. All the concerns of the BECs became “part of diocesan action,” Fr. Gallanosa said.

The Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, constructed at the heart of Sorsogon City, faces Sorsogon Bay. Photo taken on March 21, 2014. (Photo credit: Oliver Samson)

The local church had also undertaken action when overfishing off the coast of the province affected organized BECs. The local Church had also gone to the frontline of opposition to stop mining in the town of Matnog after BECs were foreseen to be affected by the environmental destruction that the operation would entail, Fr. Gallanosa said.

The local church also acted to hold the mining operator in Rapu-Rapu, Albay accountable when several months of fish kill starved the long line of fisherfolks along the coastal towns of Prieto Diaz, Gubat, and Barcelona in 2005, forcing the foreign company to indemnify the families in millions of pesos for the destruction of marine resources.

The typical constitution of a BEC is from 10 to 15 families, “who talk and pray together,” he said. The concept that inspired the building of these small communities originated in Latin America.

Each of these small communities is typified by a neighborhood of 10 to 15 families, whose conduct of life is centered on the Word of God, who live their faith by concrete actions of cooperation and love, and who are connected to a parish. (Oliver Samson)