On July 4-7, 2016 , the Catholic Bishops of the Philippines held their annual retreat at the RVM Betania House in Tagaytay City. The retreat was facilitated by a team composed of Bishop Jose Cabantan, Fr. Amado L. Picardal, CSsR and Msgr. Manny Gabriel – from the National BEC Team. The theme chosen for this year was “The Parish as Communion of Communities of Missionary Disciples and Oasis of Mercy” in line with next year’s focus: “The Parish as Communion of Communities” and this jubilee year’s “Year of Mercy.”
The retreat started on July 4 with the solemn vespers at 6 pm. After dinner, Bishop Jose Cabantan gave the orientation and ended with Night Prayers at 8:30 pm.
The following day, July 5, there was Mass at 6 pm. At 8:45 am, Fr. Picardal gave the opening talk: “The Parish as Communion of Communities: Ecclesiological Perspective.” Bishop Rey Evangelista of the diocese of Imus then shared his testimony/experiences in promoting and revitalizing BECs, entitled “The Bishop as Servant of Communion.” The sharing was followed by Holy Hour and mid-day prayers. After lunch break, Msgr. Joe Marie Delgado of Iloilo, shared his testimony/experience is forming BECs entitled “the Parish Priests as Servant of Communion.” This was followed by a period of individual reflection and then sharing in small groups Then vespers and dinner. The day ended with Taize prayer and night prayers.
On July 6, the day began with a Mass at 6 pm. After breakfast, Msgr. Manny Gabriel then gave the opening talk at 8:45: “The Parish/BECs as Community of Missionary Disciples.” This was followed by sharing of testimony of couple – Mr. Jun Simon as his wife Mavic – members of Couples for Christ who are at same time actively involved in formation and evangelization of BECs in their own parish and neighborhood community in the diocese of Kalookan. This was followed by Holy Hour and midday prayers. After lunch break, Sr. Elizabeth Relacion, MIC shared her experience of evangelization and formation of BECs among Lumad Communities in Davao de Sur and Bukidnon. This was followed by a period of individual reflection and then communal celebration of the sacrament of penance/reconciliation. Then vespers at 6:30 followed by dinner. The day ended with Taize prayer and nights prayers.
On July 7, the day began with a Mass at 6 pm. Bishop Jose Cabantan gave the opening talk at 8:30 “The Parish/BECs as Oasis of Mercy.” This was followed by a sharing/testimony of Fr. Ric Eguia of the diocese of Antipolo. The retreat ended with a closing Holy Hour and midday prayers. After lunch the bishops went down to Manila, ready for their 113th Plenary Assembly at Pius XII.