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BECs: How small Bible-sharing groups are changing society

By: Christine Paguirigan/ With reports from Kate Dolot What can small groups of locals meeting regularly to share about the Good News do to help address gripping social problems? Executive secretary of the Committee on Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, Fr. Amado Picardal, in an interview with CBCPNews, explained how BECs and communities zero in on the causes of social maladies in the country. “If we strike at the root… we can solve problems. Most of the problems stem from poverty and alienation,” said the priest. More than dealing with abstract concepts, he said, BECs recognize the power of the individual as a game-changer whose daily actions affect society at large. Forming consciences “We can form the conscience of the people through communities, knowing what is good and bad. Resist evil and to do good, it’s the most important,” he added. Picardal, also known as the “biking priest”, also highlighted the need “to promote the value of life and all the values we hold dear as Christians.” According to him, being part of a BEC brings quite a few benefits. “Being part of a BEC is just a matter of being involved and active, since some parishes are big, they are divided to small communities. They think it’s a simple prayer group, neighbors gathering, most people still don’t know the mission,” the biking priest said. “… it’s not just an activity it’s really a new way of living as Christians and disciples.” Beyond 2017 With the guidance of parish priests who undergo retreats and recollections for better leadership, the Church, with the participation of the faithful strive to leave a “legacy”, said Picardal, and awaken lay people to bear the responsibility of actively participating in the Church’s mission. “We are the Church, all of us have to act and speak out, not only the priests and bishops. We have to do something concrete to address the problem and it has to begin at home and in the community,” he said. When asked who are involved in the mission, he affirmed that it was the lay people as community, noting that the Year of the Parish’s emphasis is on “communion, oneness, and participation in mission.” “What we start today must continue even after 2017, [the Year of the Parish] is not just a one year affair,” said Picardal.

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