3rd CBCP-BEC National BEC Assembly

On November 11 – 14, 2015, the 3rd CBCP-BEC Assembly was held in Manila. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines had declared this event as the official celebration of the 50th anniversary of the closing of Vatican II as well as one of the culminating activities of the year of the poor. The theme of the assembly: “BECs in the Philippines: In thanksgiving for 50 Years of Vatican II’s Spirit of Renewal and Responding as Community of Missionary Disciples to the call of Pope Francis to be a poor Church for the Poor.” The assembly was hosted by the archdiocese of Manila and its suffragan dioceses in the National Capital Region (Kalookan, Novaliches, Pasig, Cubao, Paranaque, Malolos, Antipolo and Imus). Over 1,100 delegates coming from 74 dioceses attended this national event. There were also observers coming from religious congregations and institutions including the FABC AsiPA/BEC Desk. The official delegates were accommodated in foster parishes and BECs in the dioceses in Metro-Manila. The opening Mass was held in the San Fernando de Dilao Parish Church, Paco, Manila on November 11 at 3 pm. This was presided by Archbishop Socrates Villegas, the president of the CBCP. After the Mass, Bishop George Rimando – the Chairman of the CBCP-BEC Committee welcomed the delegates and observers. The orientation was given by Fr. Amado Picardal, CSsR, executive secretary of the CBCP-BEC Committee. The delegates were then transported to their respective foster parishes for the welcome dinner and program. They were then brought to their host families/BECs. The plenary assemblies on November 12-13 were held in the Paco Catholic School Auditorium. On November 12 at 8:30 am, Cardinal Orlando Quevedo gave the opening talk: “Basic Ecclesial Communities: In Gratitude for 50 years of Vatican II’s Spirit of Renewal.” Afterwards, for the next two days, representatives from the various regions in Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon shared the stories of their respective BECs in creative ways. Following the reports, Mgr. Manny Gabriel presented the synthesis and then Fr. Amado Picardal presented the “Trends, Concerns and Challenges” of the BECs in the Philippines. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle gave the final talk “The BECs in the Philippines: Responding as a Community of Missionary Disciples to the call of Pope Francis to be a poor Church for the poor.” Following the Mass in the afternoon which recalled the BEC Martyrs, the delegates had special dinners and socials. The culminating activity on November 14 was held at the Cuneta Astrodome from 12:00 – 5 pm which was attended not only by official delegates and observers but also by over 10,000 members of BECs in the National Capital Region.This was preceded by motorcades from various dioceses and parishes in Metro-Manila which converged near DFA building along Roxas Blvd. From there the participants had a procession to the Cuneta Astrodome. A program and cultural presentation followed. The apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto will graced the occasion and read the message of Pope Francis to the assembly. At 4:00 pm, the closing Mass was celebrated, presided by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle.