Caceres holds seminar on basic ecclesial communities
By Julma M. Narvadez
“Be enamored with Christ. Be exemplars of Christ.” This was the Caceres Archbishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona’s message to priests during the seminar “A New Way of Being Church, A New Way of Being Priest” with Bp. Jose Allan V. Dialogo, DD, of the Diocese of Sorsogon and Fr. Michael de la Rosa, of the Diocese of Libmanan as speakers. Held on February 15, 2020 at the Good Shepherd Chapel of the Archbishop’s Residence at Naga City, the seminar is among the activities organized in celebration of the Year of Missio Ad Gentes.
According to Msgr. Noe Badiola, parish priest of the St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naga City, the seminar “deepened the theological grounding for basic ecclesial communities.” In the Archdiocese of Caceres, BECs are called Saradit na Kristyanong Komunidad.
In his lecture, Bp. Dialogo emphasized the nature of BECs and the need for priests to immerse in the community for BECs to thrive. “Lahat kasali, kasali lahat, this was our slogan,” Bp. Dialogo recalls how he introduced BECs as a pastoral strategy when he was a parish priest in Pembo, Makati. The slogan was his way of encouraging more parishioners to participate in Church. He also shared how he would say Mass along the streets of the densely populated barangay. He said the sitio Masses proved to be effective in bringing the Gospel to the households.
Meanwhile, Fr. de la Rosa attested how BEC is a vehicle to “bring Christ to the people.” Similar to Bp. Dialogo’s experience, his priority was the celebration of Masses in the barangays when he introduced BEC to his parish assignments. He also noted that one challenge is to rectify the usual perception that BEC is another program of the parish, where in fact BEC is the basic unit of the parish.
“Challenging and very enriching,” says Fr. Felipe Culvera, parish priest of Our Lady of Penafrancia Parish, Naga City, of the discussions. Attended by around 50 priests, the seminar was spearheaded by the Archdiocesan BEC Office with Fr. Emmanuel G. Mojica as coordinator.
Edong Surtida, SKK Coordinator of the St. Jude Thaddeus Parish, Naga City, presented the programs of the parish for the SKK, under the pastorship of Fr. Francis Tordilla.
“Be effective, not only affective,” says Archbishop Tirona, in his message to the priests. The formation and promotion of BECs is among the pastoral priorities of the Archdiocese of Caceres. “But more than an idea or a program, BEC is a way to bring Christ real. No matter how you call it, BEC is Jesus present among us,” says the Archbishop.