FINAL STATEMENT: BEC NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
Nov. 11-15, 2002
Holy Family Retreat House, Cebu City
We are 185 participants coming from 51 dioceses all over the Philippines – from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Among us are lay leaders and pastoral workers, priests, reli-gious and guests from other countries. We have also been accompanied by seven bishops.
We come together eleven years after the celebration of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines that affirmed the Basic Ecclesial Communities as a way of being Church – an expression of a renewed Church.
Over the years we have been actively involved in the building and strengthening of BECs. We came to this Assembly asking ourselves the question: are BECs a dream or reality?
As we shared our stories and discussed our concerns we have come to believe that BECs are indeed a dream that is becoming a reality. The building up of BECs has become the pastoral thrust in many dioceses in the Philippines. Many parishes are becoming a network of BECs, a communion of communions. These BECs are becoming a basic unit of the local church and a way of life to many lay faithful. Through the BECs, the lay faithful respond to the call to discipleship and actively participate in the life and mission of the Church. It is in the BECs that the Church is becoming truly a Church of the Poor.
We know there is still much to be done. The promotion of BECs is a lifetime process. There are still many dioceses and parishes where BECs remain a dream. There are BECs that were established that are now inactive. Many are struggling for survival. Others are crying for support from their pastors. There are many BECs that need to address the problems of poverty, injustice, traditional politics, armed conflict and the destruction of the environment. We also see the need to dialogue with the lay organizations, movements and associations and encourage their members to actively participate in the building up of BECs in their locality. The BECs have to participate in the inculturation process so that the Church in the Philippines will truly become an inculturated Church. They must also involved in interreligious and interfaith dialogue especially in this time of intensive globalization. The family and youth with BECs need to be evangelized.
As we face these challenges, this assembly adopt the following resolutions:
1. That the BEC Desk at the national level be set up by the CBCP to
- strengthen the initiatives of the different arch/dioceses;
- facilitate logistical support (financial, training, materials, expertise, etc.) for the different arch/dioceses
- assist and animate BECs of the different arch/dioceses
- provide necessary linkages with the episcopal commissions
2. That a BEC National Assembly be convened every three years to
- provide the venue for exchange of experiences, training, materials, learnings
- read the signs of the times to set new directions
- provide opportunities for immersion and exposure
- enrich our experience through the sharing of persons with BEC experience outside the country
We believe BECs have a vital role in shaping the Church of the future. The BECs can renew the Church and transform Philippine society. We journey towards the future with confidence, fully aware of the presence of the Risen Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
May the Blessed Virgin Mary – the patroness of the Philippines, together with San Lorenzo Ruiz and the Blessed Pedro Calungsod intercede for us in our endeavor to build, strengthen and sustain BECs.