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Building up Basic

Ecclesial
Communities:
Strategic
Framework
Amado L. Picardal, CSsR,
STD

There are many approaches and


ways of building BECs
In spite of this, there are basic
principles and essential
components that we need to take
into consideration

Pre-requisites for
building BECs

Building BECs: Diocesan Pastoral


Thrust

The building of BECs should be regarded as


part of the process of renewing the local
Church.
The bishop promotes the BEC vision and
program to the clergy, religious & lay leaders.
This includes a process of leveling-off and
formal acceptance as diocesan thrust (ex:
thru diocesan pastoral assembly/synod)
A diocesan BEC commission may be formed to
assist parishes in building BECs.
Other diocesan commissions should be
oriented to support the formation & growth of
BECs
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Building BECs: a parish


program

The parish priest promotes the BEC


vision/ program in his parish (seminars,
consultation, parish assembly).
A parish formation team is set up and
trained that will assist in building BECs.
Parish strategic/pastoral plan is made
(SWOT analysis, setting parish visionmission-objectives, adopting approaches
& strategy, programming)
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Recruitment and Formation


of Parish Formation Team
(PFT)/Core Group

The team should be composed mostly


of volunteers who have gone through
the process of evangelization and
conversion, who have imbibed the BEC
vision, and who are highly committed
and competent.
If the parish can afford it, one or two
full time pastoral workers can be hired
from among them.
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Role of the Parish


Formation Team

Help develop and implement 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.
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The Diocesan BEC Commission/Formation


Team can support the formation of the Parish
formation team. Their function is not
primarily organizing but training and
providing material necessary for BECs
formation. They can also link up with other
diocesan commissions to help form the BECs
in the parishes.
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.
8

Strategic/Pastoral
Planning

The parish priest together with the parish


formation team and other lay leaders should
undertake strategic/ pastoral 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.
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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
afterwards.
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.
10

Proclamation/
Witness
(evangelizing)

Formation ofHuman
the
Promotion
Local Church/
&
Christian Community
Development
(organizing) (mobilizing)

A framework for developing BECs


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Essential Components in BEC


building

Evangelizing (Proclamation)
Organizing (Forming the Christian
community)
Mobilizing for Social Transformation
(Human Promotion and Development)

(All of these are carried out in a spirit of


dialogue and inculturation )
- how and when they are carried out will
vary depending on the situation, and
the strategies and approach chosen.
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Evangelizing
Proclamation

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The Importance of
Evangelization

Evangelization is an essential stage


in building BECs. It precedes the
organizing stage.
Evangelization as the proclamation
of the Christian message aimed at
personal conversion
The growth of BECs is the fruit of
evangelization
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Expected outcome

Accepting Christ as center of their life


and deepening their relationship with
him
Personal conversion (concretely
expressed in going to confession)
Commitment to live out their
discipleship in community.
Own and internalize the vision of new
way of being Church the BEC.
Developing a missionary dynamism
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Means of Evangelizing

Family-evangelization (Visita Familia)


Bible-reflection sessions for neighborhood
or family groupings
Evangelization seminars for the whole
community [basic orientation seminars,
Festival of Faith]
Mens Fellowship, Youth Fellowship
The liturgy (Eucharist) & popular
devotions (novena) as means of
evangelizing.
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Renewed Evangelization

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Renewed Evangelization

Mens Fellowship
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Content of
Evangelizing
Since this is just the initial stage of
proclamation, it is not necessary to cover all
the topics. Just focus on the essential
message that can make an impact. Sample
content based on PCP II:
- Jesus Christ (Prophetic-Priestly-Kingly
Messiah, Lord, Savior)
- Conversion & Discipleship
- Discipleship in Community: the Church &
BECs
This is also the time for BEC orientation

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Organizing/Formi
ng the BECs
Building up the Christian
Community
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Organizing BECs

Goal: to develop sustainable


structures, activities, ministries and
culture 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
communities
To be a Church of the Poor
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Developing the BEC culture


BEC becomes a way of life, with established
patterns of relationship, behavior and
attitude among the members:
Communion: sense of belonging, closeness,
friendship, sharing
Participation: a spirit of active
participation in the community activities
(worship, listening to proclaiming the word
of God, social action/service), in decisionmaking and implementation of plans
Missionary Dynamism : reaching out to
others
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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
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Function of the Core


Group/Nucleus

The Core Group is like leaven, light &


salt 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 them
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Core Group/
Nucleus

25

Cell

Cell

Cell
Core Group

Cell

Cell

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Deepening the Bond of


Communion

There has to be a regular face-to-face


encounter, interaction and communication
in order for the members to know one
another, deepen their relationship and
develop a sense of belonging.
This means coming together to share their
experiences, work, play, pray and celebrate.
All these are necessary to deepen their bond.
Friendship and mutual support is an
expression of communion.
Table-fellowship expresses and deepens their
communion.
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Sustainable
Activities/Structures

Prophetic Communities: bible-sharing,


visita-familia, mens fellowship, ongoing
catechesis, occasional seminars (Education
Committee)
Priestly Communities: Celebration of the
Word (bible-service), Regular mass (monthly
or bi-monthly), Seasonal liturgies, masssponsoring, etc. (Worship/Liturgy
committee).
Servant Communities: Regular meeting &
assembly to discuss problems, action
planning & evaluation (Social Action/Service
Committee)
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Emergence & Training of


Leaders

During the organizing stage, the potential


leaders that emerged or spotted will be
tested, trained and formalized
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.

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Emergence & Training of


Leaders

Leadership Training seminars should


be conducted
Emphasize servant leadership
Participative/Collegial Leadership
Council of Leaders, teamwork, regular
meeting (planning, evaluation)

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Structure of Developed BEC


(with cells)
Council of Leaders
Worship Education

Cell

Cell

Service Temporalities Youth

Cell

Cell

Cell

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Inter-connecting BECs and


creation of new parish
structures

The BECs within the parish will have to be


interconnected (zones, districts)
Meetings and assemblies attended by BEC
leaders can be organized
Parish-level committees should be formed
(WESTY)
The PPC should be formed and the BECs should
be represented.
A parish assembly should be held regularly
A gathering of BECs should be organized
(fiesta, Easter celebration)
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Sample: Parish Organizational


Structure
PP, pv

Parish Office
Staff

Parish Pastoral
Workers

Parish Pastoral Council


Worship

Education

liturgy

Temporalities

catechetics Social Action

BEC Zone

bec bec bec bec

Service

BEC Zone BEC Zone


bec bec bec bec

Finance

Youth

PCL
(LOMAS)

BEC Zone

BEC Zone

bec bec bec bec bec bec bec bec

bec bec bec bec


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Mobilizing BECs for


Social
Transformation
(Human Promotion and
Development)

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The Evangelization and Organization of


BECs should ultimately lead to
mobilization for social transformation
The BECs are instruments for renewing
the Church and transforming society
BECs should not be inward looking
communities but have social responsibility.
Mobilizing BECs for social transformation
is part of the mission of BECs as prophetic
and servant communities.
BECs are called to participate in the
struggle for development, justice, peace
and the integrity of creation
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Socio-Economic

BECs may be mobilized to engage in socioeconomic projects that can transform the socioeconomic terrain. (IGP, coops, livelihood
projects)
This should be done only after evangelization
and organizing phase
Participatory research & planning
Linking up with parish/diocesan social action
program
Networking with NGOs
The need for close monitoring and system of
check and balance
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Political

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 (IRA watch)
When it is necessary, BECs may be mobilized to
protests against government policies that are
contrary to common good
BECs can be part of the peace constituency
advocating for peace & building zones for peace
BECs can monitor human rights violations

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Ecology

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)

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Parish/BEC social action


structures
There should be a parish social action

center or committee (PSAC) that initiates


and supports social action projects in the
BECs.
There should also be a service/social action
committee in each BEC (BSAC) that
oversees the social action projects of the
community.
These committees should be staffed with
committed and competent people who have
undergone training/formation required for
the social action apostolate.
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Active participation of BEC


members

Social action programs/projects require the


active participation of the members
They should actively take part in the process
of
Analyzing their situation, problems and
resources
Determining what projects/programs to
undertake as response to their problems
(every program should be a response to felt
needs and issues of the community)
Planning, implementation and evaluation
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Capability/Skills Building
The members of the social action committees
at the parish and BEC level, as well as the
leaders and member of BECs need to learn
the following:
Environmental (SWOT) Analysis
Planning (strategic/operational),
implementing, monitoring, evaluation
Resource identification and mobilization
Management, Entrepreneurship, marketing
Skills training (livelihood, handicrafts,
sustainable agriculture, etc.)
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Encouragement and
Support of Bishops and
Clergy

The BEC-based social action program should be


owned by the diocese and the parish.
They should be initiated and supported by the
bishops and the parish priests.
This should be reflected in the strategic/pastoral
plan of the diocese and the parish.
This should also be reflected in diocesan/parish
budget.
Bishops & parish priests should monitor the
development of the BEC-based social action
program
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Linkages & Networking with


Civil Society

The Church and the BECs are not the only


ones that are working for social
transformation
There are civil society groups (NGOs & POs)
who are also doing so.
They can help develop the social action
capabilities of BECs
The BECs can work with them on common
issues and concerns (cooperatives, ecology,
good governance, peace advocacy, etc.)
BECs should always be on guard against
being used or manipulated by groups with
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ideological/political agenda.

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 alreadynot-yet reality.
The strategic framework is a road-map that
can help us find our way towards reaching
our goal
As the BECs grow, the role of the BEC
formation team diminishes. Echoing John the
Baptist, they must increase & we must
decrease.
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BECs as Instruments of Social


Transformation John Paul II
They take root in less privileged and rural
areas, and become a leaven of Christian life,
of care for the poor, and of commitment to
the transformation of society .
Redemptoris Missio 51

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Sample Approaches
in
Building BECs

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Piloting Approach
1.
a.
b.
c.

Preparatory Phase
Recruitment/Formation of PFT
Data-gathering
Strategic Pastoral Planning

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Piloting Phase (3-5 communities)


a. Evangelizing
b. Organizing
Forming Core group/leaders
Developing BEC culture and Structures
c. Transforming local situation (economic,
political, etc.)
(the pilot areas become model BECs or
showcases, which can be used as exposure
areas come and see, go and follow
program)
2.

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Expansion/ Replication Phase


(evangelizing, organizing, transforming)
4. Creating/Reforming Parish Structures
(zones, parish commissions WESTY, PPC)
5. Ongoing Mobilization for Social
Transformation - Parish, Regional
Level.
6. Missionary Outreach/ Helping other
parishes build BECs
(the parish can become a model BEC parish,
which can be used as an exposure and
training center)
3.

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Saturation Approach
1.

2.
3.

Preparatory Phase
Recruitment and Formation of Parish
Formation Team/Core Group
Data gathering, Strategic Pastoral Planning
Evangelizing Phase (all local
communities)
Organizing Phase (all local communities)
Core group/leadership formation
Introduce sustaining activities
Expansion clustering, family groupings
Create structures BEC, Zone, parish levels
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4.

5.

Mobilizing for Social


Transformation (Human
Promotion and Development)
Missionary Outreach

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Summing up

The building up of BECs should be the pastoral


thrust of the diocese and every parish.
The building of BECs is a gradual and on-going
process
It is the fruit of evangelization and conversion
(not imposition and coercion)
The structures, activities, ministries and culture
that are developed are meant to concretize the
PCP II vision of BECs (communion, priestlyprophetic-servant community, church of the
poor)
BECs are called to renew the Church and
transform society
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We simply plant seeds that will one day


grow. Nothing we do is complete. This
enables us to do something and do it
well. We accomplish in our lifetime only a
tiny fraction of the magnificent
enterprise that is Gods work. We may
never see the end results. We are
workers, not master builders, servant
leaders, not messiahs. We are prophets of
a future not our own.
Archbishop Oscar Romero

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