Oct. 27, 2011 – Bishop Vicente Navarra and leaders of the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) gave an assessment of the BECs, and evaluated the organization, its functions and the problems attendant to the development, expansion and effective operation in a pastoral assembly held at the CICM Seminary Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 23), in Talisay City.
The Pastoral Assembly was held in accordance with the directive of the Second Diocesan Synod to evaluate the implementation of the decree of the synod. The assembly drew out numerous situations prevailing in the BECs where they are organized and the difficulties in their organization especially in farflung areas. Accompanying Navarra were Fr. Ireneo Gordoncillo and Fr. Nitodel Soriano, director of the Diocesan Pastoral Commission (DPC).
There are 1,600 BECs all over the diocesan and strengthening it and sustaining the BECs are a major concern of the church. The role of the BECs is to ensure that aside from the concerns of the body, more emphases would be the spirituality of each of the members to make them effective and alive in the lives of the people. They are to lead and guide the people in the practice of Christian principles and commitment which is a new way of life in the church.
“The people become closer to the Lord and to stand up for his principles through small units through the BECs said Bishop Navarra. Before PCP II, the BECs, it was called the BCCs. The BECs encompassed the spirit of the church community and through it, the church continues to grow. The Social Action Center (SAC) in effect is doing its best to be involved with the BECs on the local level said Msgr. Navarra.
On the issue related to the Muslims, Navarra said he was appealing to cooler heads to come in and not allow the escalation of the conflict. There should be reconciliation between concerned parties. On people’s suffering because of mundane concerns such as high prices of commodities, the SAC is making its best effort to control prices of goods. The SAC is trying to convince businessmen which the body which control prices to let up because the church is concerned about those who suffer. The BECs has been trying to protect the environment as it is the creation of God. Our business should have a conscience said Msgr. Navarra.
Fr. Nitodel Soriano said that in the practice of the BECs more people are appreciative of their identities as Christians, that they as Christians cannot separate themselves as children of God and that they should be responsible members of society. On the fighting going on especially in Basilan and in Mindanao, Msgr. Navarra said he was not too keen on this but he said endangering the lives of civilians who are innocent was a no-no. He was he said encouraging the continuance of peace talks. People should not give up hope and bring matters in a dialogue over the table.
Fr. Ireneo Gordoncillo also aired his views on the BECs and his analysis of what it has achieved. During the assembly, those who attended included 94 priests, 20 men and women religious and 104 lay leaders in the parishes and chaplaincies, schools, centers and missions within the Diocese covering towns and cities from Victorias City to Hinigaran town, the territorial boundary of the Bacolod Diocese. The assembly also drew up a list of recommendations which were approved at the closing session of the gathering.
(Negros Daily Bulletin, reported by Edgar Cadagat, Oct. 27, 2011)