The National Gathering of Diocesan BEC Directors and Coordinators and National Launching of the Year of the Parish as Communion of CommunitiesMalaybalay City, Bukidnon, Philippines
On November 28-30, 2016, diocesan BEC directors and coordinators coming from 72 dioceses from all over the Philippines including representatives from several CBCP commissions and renewal movements gathered in Malaybalay City for the launching of the Year of the Parish as Communion of Communities. This event which brought together 174 participants was organized by the Committee on Basic Ecclesial Communities of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and hosted by the diocese of Malaybalay under the leadership of Bishop Jose Cabantan – the bishop of Malaybalay and the chairman of CBCP-BEC Committee. Also in attendance were Bishops Crispin Varquez (bishop of Borongan), George Rimando (auxiliary bishop of Davao) and Oscar Florencio (auxiliary bishop of Cebu).
The opening Mass was celebrated at 5:30 pm on November 28 in the Cathedral of Malaybalay, presided by Bishop Honesto Pacana, bishop-emeritus of Malaybalay. This was followed by the welcome dinner and program at the Diocesan Formation Center in Impalambong. After dinner, the delegates were brought to their respective foster families in BEC areas in various parts of the city.
The following day, the whole morning was spent in workshops and reporting by regions and sub-regional groupings to discuss their situation and the external and internal challenges that they and their BECs are facing. After the synthesis of the reports by Fr. Danny Pilario, a panel discussion and open forum followed in the afternoon. The panelists were composed of Bishop Jose Cabantan, Mgr. Manny Gabriel, Fr. Danny Pilario,CM, Dr. Estella Padilla and Fr. Amado Picardal, CSsR. Before the Mass, Fr. Picardal presented the framework for the observance of the Year of the Parish as Communion of Communities which should take into consideration the situation and the challenges that the BECs are facing. In the evening, the delegates had dinner and Gospel sharing in the homes of their respective foster families together with the neighbors composed the BEC cells.
On the third day, two talks were given to deepen the understanding of the theme of the Year of the Parish Communion of Communities – the theological-ecclesiological perspective by Mgr. Manny Gabriel and the missiological-pastoral perspective by Fr. Amado Picardal. Three delegates from Luzon (Fr. Tony Addauan), Visayas (Ms. Rowena Daquilanea), and Mindanao (Fr. Bong Dublan) shared their response/experiences on the theme. This was followed by a panel discussion and open forum. The clergy, religious and lay leaders of the diocese of Malaybalay were in attendance. The next National Gathering of Diocesan BEC Directors and Coordinators and culmination of the Year of the Parish as Communion of Communities will be held in Tagbilaran, Bohol in November 2017.