BEC in the Villages: San Antonio de Padua Parish, Paranaque City

 

It is interesting to know that BEC thrived among the upper class in gated subdivisions and condominiums in urban areas in Diocese of Paranaque. It is enthusing to witness the BEC in the villages particularly in San Antonio de Padua Parish.

San Antonio de Padua Parish was established in 1970, located at 139 San Antonio Avenue, San Antonio Valley I, Sucat, Paranaque City. At present, the parish priest is Fr. John Francis Frederick “Jeff” Manlapig and the Parish BEC Lay Coordinator is Bro. Patrocinio “Pat” Cablao. Bro. Pat served the parish as BEC Lay Coordinator when Ning Marcelo succeeded him as the PPC Lay Coordinator in July 2013. (Bro. Pat was a retired professor at the University of the East College of Engineering.) As of January 23, 2014, Fr. William Ramos, Diocesan BEC Priest Coordinator appointed him as the newly Diocesan BEC Lay Coordinator.

BEC in San Antonio de Padua Parish started in 2009, although they had been trying to establish BEC in the parish since 90’s, they only had it aggressively promoted BEC in 2009 with the help of 2 seminarians who providently took residence at Jestra Villas. They have experienced BEC in Mindanao. The first BEC cell in the parish was started at Jestra Villas, followed by a cell in Westmont Village in 2010; next formed in 2012, were those at Lower Barangay, SAV X & XI, Barangay Village, Greenheights Village, Equity Homes & Sta. Cecilia; and a second cell at Greenheights Village in 2013; at Camella Homes Parañaque 3 in November 2013, but hibernated in December. New cells with combined membership from Olivarez & Fatima compounds and one at Simplicio Cruz Compound started in early December 2013. A new cell was formed in April 2014 at Sto. Domingo Dulo, by the SAV X & XI Subdivision cell.

The cell at Lower Barangay, which for a time became dormant has been re-activated in February 2014. A Basic Orientation Seminar (BOS) was conducted to a core group at Camella Homes Townhomes Classic 5 last May 24.

Vast majority of the BEC members are senior citizens, large number is female and a few males.

In San Antonio Valley X & XI, the BEC cell group led by Linda Tinasas started in 2012. The BEC regular cell meeting is every Monday at 7:30 p.m. The 1st Misa to Mesa started on May 14, 2012, held every 2nd Tuesday of the month at 7:00p.m.

The BEC cell at Jestra Villas, started in 2010, led by Ning Marcelo and succeeded by Pete Camora as interim cell leader.

In Westmont Village, comprising of several condominium buildings , a BEC cell was established in 2010 with Chona Locsin as cell leader but eventually became dormant because Ms. Locsin have gone abroad.

In Barangay Village, the BEC cell group started in March 2012 led by Ivy Alamag. The BEC regular cell meeting is every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. The 1st Misa to Mesa started in July 2012, held every 2nd Thursday of the month at 7:00p.m.

In Greenheights Village, there are 2 active BEC cell groups. The first cell group started on May 14, 2012 led by Evelyn Borlaza. The BEC regular cell meeting is every Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. The 1st Misa to Mesa started in June 2012. It is being held every 1st Wednesday of the month at 4:00p.m. The second cell group started on August 2, 2013 led by Rosario “Chari” Belmonte. The BEC regular cell meeting is every Monday at 3:00 p.m. The 1st Misa to Mesa started in August 2013, held once a month at 4:00p.m., with cell 1.

In Equity Homes, the BEC cell started in March 2013, led by Josette M. Corpus. The BEC regular cell meeting is every Friday at 7:00 p.m. The 1st Misa to Mesa started on April 12, 2013, held every second Friday of the month at 8:00p.m.

Also, they have BECs in developing communities particularly in Sta. Cecilia Compound, the cell started on July 2012, led by Rose M. Paraiso. The BEC regular cell meeting is every Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. The 1st Misa to Mesa started in January 2012 in the street. It is being held every last Tuesday of the month at 4:00p.m.

The flourishing of BECs in the villages and developing communities in San Antonio de Padua Parish may be attributed to the adherence to the essential components of BEC; i.e. Small Christian Community, Word of God, Celebration of the Eucharist and Action in response to faith strengthened by hearing the Word. In “Misa-to-Mesa” those are approximated. The BEC after breaking the Word celebrates the Eucharist where the Bread is broken at the table of the Lord. Then fellowship is celebrated by breaking bread with others at the table of the host member. The scenario is, the BEC members will gather together in a house of one member, share the Word of God, celebrate the Holy Eucharist and then eat meals prepared for them by the home owner and/or the birthday celebrant(s).

The two (2) seminarians who helped establish BECs in San Antonio de Padua parish and continuously working with them in promoting & forming BECs were newly ordained deacon, Rev. Joseph Asunar in the military ordinariate & Ariel Mercader Aserit who temporarily stopped seminary studies and is working in the parish office as parish clerk in-charge of scheduling & booking. They were responsible in formulating the Parish BEC Basic Orientation modules with extensive references to the books of Fr. Picardal & Fr. Bart Pastor.

This year 2014, their goals and terminal performance objectives in the light of BEC direction in their parish are the followings:

1. In 2014 and beyond, to generate acceptance, participation and formation of Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) as a “New Way of Being Church”; to promote “communion of communities.

2. For 2014, to stabilize and enhance the capabilities of the parish leaders, especially those of the areas, lay associations and youth groups to implement spiritual-pastoral programs that will animate the parish’s Basic Ecclesial Communities.

3. By the end of 2014, to raise to twenty-five (25) the number of parish areas that will have active BECs.

4. By the end of 2014, to establish two (2) BEC cells of young people.

5. By the end of 2014, the parish BEC structures are effectively coordinated and leaders are equipped with adequate knowledge, experience, understanding and commitment to their tasks of implementing spiritual-pastoral works to the BECs.

To attain their goals and objectives, the Commission on BEC (COMBEC) will be conducting the following: Assessment of 2013 performance and establish needs and course of action; Basic Orientation Seminars for members of PPC, youth groups and parish areas, and Misa-to-Mesa, symposia and the rest is history.

1.

LEARNINGS AND INSIGHTS FROM BEC EXPERIENCE:

 

1. BEC in the villages is potentially bound to success. BEC leaders uphold the spirit of the “New Evangelization” and committed themselves to bring forth the spiritual-pastoral program to the Basic Ecclesial Communities with active support and participation of the Parish Priest.

 

2. Reaching out those who are mostly in need, like those in the developing communities (poor families), San Antonio de Padua Parish offers to them the spiritual-pastoral works of the BEC and incite them to become active.

 

3. Street mass is not frequent liturgical BEC activity in the village rather they launched the “Misa-to-Mesa” which is being held in the house of one of the BEC members, and usually participated by the BEC cell group members only. Misa-to-Mesa is a monthly spiritual and corporal meal.

 

4. Cell meeting with bible sharing weekly is their regular and common BEC activity. Every cell has a BEC leader facilitating the group. They followed the BEC meeting guides common to all parishes in the Diocese of Parañaque. Basically, these are based on the book, “Kasabay Ko, Ikaw at Ikaw, Lingguhang Gabay para sa Miting ng BEC, Taon A” by Fr. Francis Gevaert, CICM. Some words are being changed to suit the situations in the BEC cells in the diocese. A second part is also being added to the “bahaginan” portion and that is the “Gawain/Hamon ng Kapitbahayan” which is the business meeting part, made by the Diocesan BEC Commission.

 

5. The BEC in developing communities like Sta. Cecilia has a common fund initiated by a concerned parishioner by initially donating P500 to start helping the BEC members in their emergency financial needs. This fund eventually increased and those who are in need, can borrow money from this BEC fund without interest. The fund increased because the BEC members were inspired to give voluntarily any amount after BEC cell meetings.

 

6. Year 2014 is year of faith. The laity are called to be saints…sent forth as heroes. The BEC lay leaders in San Antonio de Padua Parish are on their way, taking baby step towards sustaining the stability of the new evangelization in their areas of responsibility. Keeping their feet on the ground, learning new processes, applying best practices such as BEC meeting with Bible sharing & “Misa-to-Mesa” which magnify their BEC spirituality deeply rooted in the words of God and the Holy Eucharist, keeping it alive in their villages.

 

 

References:

 

Interviews: Patrocinio “Pat” Cablao & BEC area coordinators

2. Pastoral Planning Worksheet For Year 2014

3. Misa-to-Mesa Schedule