Building Up BECs - Website of Fr. Amado Picardal, CSsR

Building up Basic
Ecclesial Communities
A Strategic Framework
Fr. Amado L. Picardal, CSsR, STD
Pre-Requisites for Building up
Basic Ecclesial Communities
1. Building BECs as Pastoral
Program of the Parish & Diocese
Since the BECs is a new way of being Church, its
formation must eventually be adopted by the
diocese and parish as a pastoral program.
The diocese, through a Diocesan Pastoral
Assembly or Synod must officially endorse the
building of BECs as a pastoral priority.
The parish, through a Parish Assembly, must also
adopt the BECs as a parish program
Why is it Necessary to be a Pastoral
Program of the Diocese and Parish?
To emphasize that it is the project of the local
Church and not the external agents/organizers.
To ensure stability and continuity of BECs that
are formed.
To get the support of the pastors (Bishops and
priests) and the lay leaders
To facilitate the acceptance of the lay people,
especially those who are resistant to change.
2. The BEC Formation Team
A Parish Formation Team (PFT) is necessary to build
up the BECs in the parish.
This team must be formed, supported and
coordinated by the parish priest. The composition of
the team: lay pastoral workers (full-time & part-time),
religious sisters, etc.
There should be a regular meeting of the PFT for
planning, reporting, evaluation and ongoing staff
development. These meeting should be attended by
the parish priest.
Role of the Parish Formation Team
Implement the parish pastoral program and help
develop a parish pastoral plan
Help in gathering data about the parish and the
local communities and make a strategic plan
Assist in Evangelizing the local communities
Organize the BECs and help train leaders
Help mobilize BECs for social transformation
Monitor the development and growth of BECs.
The Diocesan Formation Team may be formed to
support the formation of the Parish formation
team. Their function is not organizing but training
and providing material necessary for BECs
External Pastoral Agents can also help form the
PFT and provide technical support. They can help
the PFT carry out its function of evangelizing,
organizing and mobilizing the BECs. Since they are
transitory by nature, the external agents should
ensure that the PFT become self-sustaining.
3. Environmental Analysis
To build BECs, the PFT must know the place and the
people. This means knowing the local geography,
history, political terrain, culture and religious situation.
The context will influence the kind of BECs that will
be formed, the appropriate strategy or approaches
that will be used in building them, the context or
message of evangelization, etc.
There are many ways of data-gathering: survey,
interviews, observation, participatory research, focus
group discussion.
Strategic Planning
The parish priest together with the parish formation
team and other lay leaders should undertake pastoral
strategic planning.
The strategic plan should be based on the results of
the environmental analysis and the vision-mission of
the parish, the thrust of the diocese.
The PCP II vision of a Renewed Church and the
BECs can be adopted by the parish.
The goals and objectives can be set, the means can
be determined, and initial programming be done.
Approaches in building up BECs
Diocesan Level
 Simultaneous (all parishes at the same time)
 Piloting (select pilot/priority parishes, replicate
Parish Level
 Simultaneous (all communities at the same time)
 Piloting (select pilot/priority communities,
replicate later)
The team will have to decide what is the most
viable approach:
Pilot areas? Selecting two to four communities
for experimentation. Develop these communities
as model BECs. Replication can be done
Simultaneous? All the communities are
developed at the same time. Top to bottom
approach. Selecting leaders from each
community, orient & train them, send them back
to their communities for organizing.
Adopting a Strategic Framework
 Evangelization
of communities
 Organizing the communities into
 Mobilizing BECs for social
Renewed Evangelization
The potential leaders and members of the BECs
are evangelized. Focus also on the family. Reach
out to nominal members, men, young people.
Expected outcome: They deepen their relationship
with Christ, experience conversion, make a
commitment to live out their discipleship in
community. They own and internalize the vision of
new way of being Church – the BEC.
Means: Evangelization seminar, bible-sharing,
family evangelization (visita familia), men’s
Organizing BECs
Goal: to set up sustainable structures, activities &
ministries that will facilitate the growth of BECs
as Community of Disciples
This means concretizing what it means
To live in communion
To be a prophetic, priestly and servant
To be a Church of the Poor
Forming a Core Group/Nucleus
The task of organizing BECs is not only the work
of the PFT
It needs the active participation of a core group
within a community
This core group is composed of committed
people and potential leaders that have emerged
during the evangelization stage.
We follow Jesus’ method who called an initial core
group of disciples and apostles whom he trained
Function of the Core Group/Nucleus
The Core Group is like leaven, light & yeast in the
midst of the community
Filled with missionary dynamism they continue the
process of evangelization
They expand the BEC, set up structures & activities
that enable the BEC to grow
The leaders of the BECs will come from among
The Early Shape of the BEC
Core Group/
Later Development of BEC
Core Group
Sustainable Activities/Structures
Prophetic Communities: bible-sharing, visitafamilia, men’s fellowship, ongoing catechesis,
occasional seminars (Education Committee)
Priestly Communities: Celebration of the Word
(bible-service), Regular mass (monthly or bimonthly), Seasonal liturgies, etc.
(Worship/Liturgy committee).
Servant Communities: Regular meeting &
assembly to discuss problems, action planning &
evaluation (Social Action/Service Committee)
Emergence & Training of Leaders
During the organizing stage, the potential leaders
that emerged or spotted will be tested, trained and
During the early stage of organizing an
informal/adhoc leadership is more desirable to
allow the emergence, testing and training of new
breed of leaders.
The formal election of leaders take place later
after the BECs have become mature.
Emergence & Training of
Leadership Training seminars should be
Emphasize servant leadership
Participative/Collegial Leadership – Council
of Leaders, teamwork, regular meeting
(planning, evaluation)
Term of Office (3 years, subject to recall &
Structure of Developed BEC
Council of Leaders
Worship Education
Service Temporalities
Parish Organizational Structure
Parish Office
Parish Formation
Parish Pastoral Council
Temporalities Family
Worship Education
Social Action
BEC Zone
BEC Zone BEC Zone
BEC Zone
Mobilizing BECs for
Social Transformation
The Evangelization and Organization of BECs should
ultimately lead to mobilization for social
The BECs are instruments for renewing the Church
and transforming society
BECs should not be inward looking communities but
has social responsibility.
Mobilizing BECs for social transformation is part of
the mission of BECs as prophetic and servant
BECs are called to participate in the struggle for
development, liberation, justice, peace and the integrity
of creation
BECs as part of Civil Society
The Civil Society paradigm is appropriate for
BECs as part of civil society (including
NGOs, Pos, etc) transforming society from
Areas of engagement: Socio-economic,
political, environment.
BECs may be mobilized to engage in socioeconomic projects that can transform the socioeconomic terrain. (IGP, coops, livelihood projects)
Should be done only after evangelization and
organizing phase
Participatory research & planning
Linking up with parish/diocesan social action
Networking with NGOs
The need for close monitoring and system of check
and balance
BECs can be mobilized to empower people to
participate in the decision making process
During elections, BECs can become part of the local
network of PPCRV or NAMFREL
BECs can become fiscalizers in the LGU
BECs may be mobilized against government policies
that are contrary to common good
BECs will be part of the peace constituency –
advocating for peace & building zones for peace
BECs can monitor human rights violations
BECs may be mobilized to protect the
environment and maintain ecological balance
 This may mean struggling against companies that
destroy the environment (logging, mining,
pollution, etc)
(ex: San Fernando, Bukidnon)
Concluding Remarks
Building BECs is an ongoing process.
It is aimed at renewing the Church and transforming
Philippine society
Like the kingdom of God, it is an “already-not-yet”
The strategic framework is a road-map that can help
us find our way towards reaching our goal