MANILA, Nov. 14, 2015— Saying that “participation is key” to the Basic Ecclesial Communities, a Catholic archbishop has one wish for lay BEC leaders, workers and volunteers: “May your tribe increase!”
Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu on Thursday recognized the efforts of lay people, who are gathered for the BEC National Assembly at the Paco Catholic School, in the evangelizing mission of the Church.
“For many years, the Church has been ‘mostly clerical’. But now with the BEC, you know too well that this is our Church… your Church,” Palma said in his homily during a Mass held to end the day’s session.”
“When I think of BEC, it always reminds me of you our dear lay people. Thank God that you realize, it is your duty and your role to participate,” he said.
He lauded the active participation of lay faithful in the BEC, which is an expression of “a new way of being Church”, despite the many difficulties and challenges.
“But you know this is your role, privilege and duty as well coming from the Lord,” said Palma, former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
In the Philippines, adequate training and formation of lay pastoral workers, both full time and volunteer, and BEC leaders remain among the challenges.
Fr. Amado Picardal, executive secretary of CBCP’s Committee on BEC, there is an increasing number of BEC volunteers and lay formators in recent years.
He said these formation teams are composed mostly of part-time lay volunteers who are fully committed to assist in the formation of BECs.
“They need ongoing formation to deepen their commitment and develop their skills in evangelizing, organizing and mobilizing,” Picardal said. (CBCPNews)