BEC Institute in Western Visayas Region Proposed

Aklan, June 10, 2014 – Over a series of meetings of the Diocesan BEC Coordinators and Lay Representatives in the Sub-Region of Western Visayas (WV), an ongoing plan of setting up a Sub-Regional BEC Institute attached to St. Joseph Regional Seminary in the Archdiocese of Jaro is being conceptualized.

In their initial brainstorming held last August 26, 2013 the group proposed the following possible features and scope of the institute:

  1. To gather and share formation modules, materials,  approaches, tools, processes and strategies that are easily adaptable and usable in all levels of the church especially in the grassroots communities
  2. To pool together diocesan resources that can be offered via the institute and provide options for dioceses to avail of such reserves as a way of collaboration.
  3. To spell out the kind of church we envision in Western Visayas and come up with a common definition of BEC as fruit of our local experiences.
  4. To gather the vision and mission of each diocese and have a working vision in the sub-region that will be the basis of our definition of the kind of church we want to build.
  5. To come up with a common model leading to a working strategy or approach for BEC organizing.
  6. To have a forum where BEC practitioners can gather to exchange stories and learnings about BEC and to come with mechanisms for evaluating and enhancing the existing approaches or methods on BEC organizing that are relevant to our culture and context
  7. To formulate and develop tools that can extract our rich experiences from the stories told by people in their own manner, form and language supplemented by research methods that would facilitate the emergence of our gifts and who we are as local church.

This was again followed up in the recent meeting in Holy Rosary Parish, Boracay. Twenty one delegates composed of Diocesan BEC Coordinators and Lay Representatives (2 bishops, 8 priests and 11 laity) gathered last June 9-10, 2014 at the Holy Rosary Parish Church, Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan for their second Sub-Regional meeting this year. The first meeting was held at the Bishop’s House in Bacolod City last March 13, 2014

The Western Visayas Sub-Regional group includes the Metropolitan See of both Jaro and Capiz which include the Dioceses of Bacolod, Kabankalan, Kalibo, San Carlos, San Jose de Antique, and Romblon.

The group resolved to regularize the sub-regional meetings to intensify collaboration and build up inter-diocesan support so that they can assist each other especially in the implementation of BECs in dioceses within the sub-region.

The meeting kicked off with a concelebrated mass held at the Ati Community in Boracay Island followed by a brief interaction and presentation by the youngest members of the tribe.   The actual meeting started on the second day, June 10 with the encouraging and active presence of two bishops, Bp. Gerardo Aliminaza and Bp. Jose Corazon Talaoc.

The group formed an AdHoc Committee composed of Msgr. Jose Marie Delgado, Fr. Ireneo Gordoncillo, Fr. Romel Enar, Sr. Zenia Pinaga, AMP and Mary Grace Dagu-ob to draft a concept paper that will be submitted to the Episcopal Board of the St. Joseph Regional Seminary, Jaro, Iloilo City. The board will be requested to study the possibilities of setting-up the institute within the seminary as an integral part of its pastoral program or as an extension of its current pastoral services. Bp. Gerardo A. Alminaza, D.D., bishop of San Carlos is the bishop convenor for the sub-region and Fr. Robert Amalay of the Archdiocese of Jaro is sub-regional coordinator.

The group is planning to gather again before the Visayas Regironal Pastoral Assembly (VRPA) slated in October for an inter-diocesan training/orientation on the Participatory approach. Each diocese will send 5 participants composed of 4 members of their Diocesan Formation Team or equivalent group and one priest on an agreed date (details subject to confirmation).