BEC in Holy Trinity Parish, Novaliches

Holy Trinity Parish is situated in Geraldine St., Don Jose Heights, Commonwealth, Quezon City.  It was formally established on December 11, 1982. Majority of the parishioners are coming from subdivisions such as Don Jose, Ideal, Dona Carmen & Commonwealth Heights. HTP belonged to Archdiocese of Manila since 1997-2002. It was in December 7, 2002, the Diocese of Novaliches was established and only then, the HTP became under the territorial boundary of the Diocese of Novaliches.

The BEC program was introduced to HTP during the term of Fr. Bernardino “Nong” Yebra in 1996/1997. He invited Tatang Mendoza to give an orientation/seminar on BEC to the Parish Pastoral Council. Two BEC orientation sessions were conducted and they  started planning to organize BECs. However it didn’t push through because the term of Fr. Nong was about to end and eventually the interest of the PPC in BEC faded.

in 2001 during the term of Fr. Robert “Bobby” Titco. Sr. Cleta accompanied by Sr. Christina Pranata, an Ursuline Sister, and a few others came to the parish and gave re- orientation to PPC about the nature of BEC.

In 2002, it was Fr. Joseph Biliran who appointed Sr. Christina Puspitaningsih Pranata, OSU as volunteer Parish BEC Coordinator. A few months later, Sr. Christina asked Celi Sto. Domingo to join her in organizing BEC cell (bukluran) in Happyland. Soon after, BEC cells were organized in Purok 10 and Upper Nawasa with the help of Dolores “Dolly” Salvador and Edith Somera. Sr. Christina would go to other areas continuously and formed new cells in Kapalaran, Dona Nicasia, Waterhole, Lower Nawasa, Fatima, Purok 12, Jordan, Ilog Bakod. BECs in all areas became 12 cell groups. The BECs then were willing to hold Bible sharing once a week. They became more enthusiastic about BECs when Fr. Joseph started to celebrate a mass in many areas with BECs to know them.  After masses, they have “fellowship meals” and dialogue with Fr. Joseph and PPC. Fr. Joseph likes BEC very much, he paid attention and visited them in areas, but later on he became very busy with other things. Year 2005-2006 was a dry stage in BEC, the PPC and the Parish Priest had another pastoral focus, BEC then was not the priority.

Year 2007- Fr. Jun Peralta was appointed parish priest and Fr. Luciano Felloni was the assistant parish priest. Both were supportive to BECs. They joined Sr. Christina in visiting areas and attending BEC meeting/Bible Sharing. BECs became active again.

From 2008-2013, Fr. Luciano Felloni was the parish priest. He conducted BEC orientation and catechetical formation on the Catholic doctrines and Bible Study to parishioners/BECs with Max Bautro (fulltime parish pastoral worker) and Sr. Christina Pranata, OSU. Fr. Luciano loves the poor very much. A lot of his time was spent in areas w/ BECs-attending BEC meeting/ Bible sharing. Fr Luciano, Max and Sr. Christina divided themselves to facilitate BECs in different areas, the BEC cell groups increased. After 2 years they let the BEC facilitators led their cell groups. Once a year, the leaders/facilitators/coordinators in areas have fellowship gathering or team building and recollection.  In 2009, Parish BEC Core Group also known as Parish BEC Pastoral Team (PBPT) has been established. Once a month they have a meeting. Also, once a month this core group (PBPT) has a meeting with Vicariate BEC Pastoral Team (VBPT) at Good Sheperd Cathedral/Parish. PBPT is composed of kawan BEC coordinators, yearly they have team building or recollection.

September 2013 – Installation of Fr. Jaime “Jim” Lara. His pastoral plan was focused on ‘Faith Formation’ and he promoted the families to be a ‘Domistic Church’. He encouraged every parishioner to be part of their own communities, recognizing “kapitbahayan” as BECs. Fr. Jim appointed Atilda Romero as the new parish BEC coordinator in January 2014 effectively.

In 2014, there were 30 MKK out of 7 Kawans. MKK leaders are having regular Facilitators Formation every 2nd Tuesday of the month at 2:00pm.and the Parish BEC Pastoral Team is having monthly meeting every 1st Wednesday at 2:00pm. It was identified as Core Group in 1998 & converted into PBPT in 2011. Bibliarasal is a weekly BEC/bukluran activity and kawan masses majority are being held every Sunday in their respective mini chapels:

  1. Our Lady of Lourdes-Dona Nicasia, every Sunday @ 8:30am-c/o Nerissa Labayo
  2. Sto. Nino-Kapalaran, every Sunday @7:00am- c/o Emma Balicud
  3. Waterhole/Ilog Bakod, every 2nd Sat. of the month @ 4:00pm.-c/o Sally Tompong (street mass)
  4. St. John, the Baptist-Jordan, every Sunday @ 8:30am.-c/o Yollee Tobias
  5. St. Francis of Assisi-Commonwealth Heights/Halaman Area/Purok 13, every Sunday @ 9:30 am.-c/o Emily Ortil
  6. Our Lady of Immaculate Conception-Purok 10, every Sunday @ 8:30am-c/o Gloria Pelayo
  7. Holy Face of Jesus-Happyland/Pag-ibig, every Sunday@ 9:30am.-c/o Bing Lerio
  8. Lower Nawasa/Venturi, every 3rd Saturday of the month @ 5:00pm.-c/o Gloria Javier (street mass)
  9. Holy Trinity (old parish)-Ideal, everyday @ 6am & every Sunday @ 6am & 5pm-c/o Susan Ravela

10.  St. Joseph, the Worker-Purok 12 (Sitio San Jose), mass every Sunday @ 10am-c/o Rachel Casil

11.  St. Joseph, the Husband of Mary-Upper Nawasa, every Sunday @ 8:00am-c/o Amado Rivas

12.  San Isidro Labrador, Congress Park, every Sunday @ 6pm.-c/o Flor Santillan

October 31, 2014, “BEC Tatay” has been organized in Kapalaran, Bible sharing is being held every last Sunday of the month at 7pm. Members are exclusively for fathers.

“BEC Youth” was established in Dona Nicasia on November 16, 2014, Bibliarasal is being held every 1st Sunday of the month at 9:30am & in Upper Nawasa, it was established in January 11, 2015, Bibliarasal is being held every 2nd Sunday @ 9:30am. (BEC Tatay & BEC Youth initiated by Bro. Max Bautro).

HAPPYLAND SAVINGS AND LOAN PROGRAM profile by Celi Domingo, cited that, “When BEC was organized in Happyland in 2001 most of the members were Senior Citizens with a sprinkling of young people. The older ones were contented with the Gospel sharing offered by BEC. The younger ones however were looking for something more. Since the objective presented was fullness of life and empowerment we had to think of something more to give.

What livelihood could we go into? Since Christmas time was approaching it was suggested that we make lanterns for the Parish. This suggestion immediately got the   interest of the Bukluran members. Thus, was the start of lantern making. The starting capital was only P300 – P500. As soon as a number of lanterns were made, they were immediately sold. In Don Jose Hts, with the cooperation of the Homeowners Association all residents were encouraged to buy lanterns. The lanterns were very simple made out of bamboo and plastic materials and they came in different colors. So that Christmas, Don Jose streets were lined with lanterns of different colors – one color assigned per street. The Parish bought a large number of lanterns as well to decorate the church. Other Parishioners also bought lanterns for their Areas. The Bukluran members were overwhelmed with the earnings they got from their lantern making project. They got their fair share of the earnings and were able to donate to the “Sponsor a Lot Project” of the Church. Unfortunately however, the lanterns were so well made that they lasted for years. So, no repeat business.

They also went into other projects like soap making, candle making, etc. These didn’t do very well. Since there were times when members needed to borrow money from people imposing large interest rates and banks requiring a lot of paper work, they decided to put up their own “mini Savings and Loan Program”. They began putting up the capital in small amounts. Not too long after, borrowing was made easy for them at an interest rate of 10%. Everyone agreed to this as they themselves would benefit from whatever earnings would be accumulated. The bigger the amount one puts in, the bigger the loan one can avail of. Since only the interest earned was shared at the end of the year their capital funds began to grow, earning interest in the bank where it was invested. The sharing was/is done April or May in time for the enrollment period to help parents meet their financial obligations.

A member can pull out the money she invested should she desire to do so. The record of their funds is an open book. Whenever a member so desires she is free to look at the books. Now even non- BEC members have joined in.

Additional Projects: Sr. Christina decided to give each BEC cell/Bukluran P300 for them to use as bonding funds and also to make it grow. They started by using the amount to buy goodies – hopia and the likes. The P300 doubled in no time but there was a member who needed money for her delivery so the money was loaned to her. She has not fully paid the amount but the P300 has been returned to Sr. Christina.

They also have a “secret sharing” _ where a bag is passed around every time they meet. The amount put in by a member will depend on how much she can share – no fixed amount. The money they are able to collect is used to meet the needs (small scale) of the Bukluran.

Aside BEC Savings in Happyland, BEC in Upper Nawasa initiated “BEC Ipunan” in 2013 with an objective to have a concrete BEC Livelihood (the easiest, fastest and more comfortable means to help and recruit BEC members).  BEC Ipunan in Upper Nawasa set up a system such as: 1) Form a BEC Livelihood Core Group, 2) Members are required to attend “BEC meeting” at least 3x, 3) Orient the members to fully understand the concept of savings & loan/credit, 4) Save P25 in one week & P1,000 within a year, 5) Members are allowed to hold 1-4 saving accounts, 6) Loan amount  based on your savings only, 7) Pay your loan amount w/ 7% interest, so the Livelihood Program will earned,  8. Give your savings every BEC meeting or bukluran, 9) Transact your savings/loans only to BEC Facilitator, 10) Establish a BEC Livelihood Core Group updates every second month, 11) Members are encourage to help in parish activities, 12) Savings will be returned to all members before year end, preferably before BEC Christmas Party.

Inspired and influenced by other BECs w/ savings, BEC in Kapalaran initiated “BEC Ipunan” in 2004; BEC in Blk 6-A, Dona Nicasia initiated “BEC Savings” in October 20, 2014; and BEC in Purok 10 initiated “BEC Savings” on January 16, 2015.

In pursuit of its mission to uplift the quality of life of the parishioners specially the poor and the marginalized, the Social Services & Devt. Ministry of HTP has undertaken the following programs: HTP Community Clinic in 2007- a health program would help financially-challenged parishioners in the prevention, detection & treatment of certain illnesses thru the help of Association of Phil. Physicians in America (APPA). Site of the clinic is rented in Purok 10; “Bigasan sa Parokya” in 2008 (project ran for 2 years); Feeding Program in 2008; Livelihood Program for parishioners w/ necessary skills for gainful self-employment in 2009; Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) for Special Children in 2009; Tutorial program started in 2009; Public Affairs Program in 2010; Pastoral Care for the Elderly; Disaster Preparedness Program; Pastoral Care for Women & Children (PCWC) in 2012; Damayan Program; Ecology & Environmental Protection Program in 2012; and Land & Housing Program.

Many BEC members commented: “Before, the Church (HTP) belonged to well-off families in the subdivisions”. Later on, poor families/“gilidgers” were welcomed to attend masses in HTP; gradually, both well-off and poor families are involved in church services/ministries. However, due to “robbery” incidents in subdivision, the passage ways in Upper Nawasa-to-HTP were closed in 2005. Some parishioners stopped attending masses/and or stop serving in HTP.  But, the grace of God overflowed continuously, chapels were built for the communities. Open communication in the grassroots was established. They learned and support each other’s needs; pray and share the words of God together. Nowadays, BECs are still active in HTP in developing areas (poor families). They are hoping that BEC in subdivisions will flourish someday.

Learning & Insights:

1. Holy Trinity Parish is a fully alive Christian community consisting of an estimated 70,000 parishioners spread over 21 areas. Before, HTP was located in Ideal subdivision, but later on, it was transferred to Don Jose Heights in 2002. HTP is more visible and accessible to parishioners. More residents from subdivisions and developing communities participated in the parish activities. Logistic is a contributing factor for making HTP a new way of being Church. Bringing the ‘church’ to the people and reached them out in the grassroots level and made them united. Furthermore, no wall could hinder the “BEC” as the new way of being church by clinging to the local church, the HTP.

2. HTP has offered grassroots level of social services with the help of local/int’l/religious partners such as, ‘HTP Community Clinic’, ‘            Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) for Special Children’, etc., that really address the needs of the poor families.  Some BEC facilitators are volunteers of some of these community based projects. In the beginning, few are benefiting, but in a course of time, the number of beneficiaries increased. Teamwork is the key to the success of any projects/programs. No one is above the other.  Contribution of time, talent & treasure; prayer and moral support to one another empowered the weak & the poor/ the beneficiaries.

3. In general, BEC in HTP is holistic. They meet regularly for Bible sharing/Liturgical celebration, with social action component. It is good to witness the camaraderie, the socialization/team building/formation; prayer life and the faith of the Basic Ecclesial Communities. BEC Tatay and BEC Youth are in the process of establishing a regular bukluran meeting & finding/training a BEC facilitators. Organizing BEC in subdivision is also a target goal. “God is in that city, and it will never be destroyed; at early dawn he will come to its aide” (Ps. 46:5)

References:

  1. Trinitas Fiesta Souvenir Issue, May 26, 2013
  2. Holy Trinity Parish Pastoral Plans and Achievements (Year 2008 up to the present)
  3. History of BEC in Holy Trinity Parish by Sr. Cristina Pranata, OSU
  4. History of BEC in Holy Trinity Parish by Dolores Salvador
  5. Profile of Savings and Loan Program in Happyland by Celi Sto. Domingo
  6. Profile of BEC Savings in Blk 6-A, Dona Nicasia by Nerissa Labayo
  7. Profile of BEC Livelihood in Upper Nawasa by Maida Castane
  8. Profile of BEC Ipunan in Kapalaran by Emma Balicud
  9. Interviews: Max Bautro, Sr. Christina Pranata, Atilda Romero, etal.

/JFV7.1.15