November 15, 2015, 12:53p.m. – MANILA Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle called for unity in spreading the Gospel during the closing ceremonies for the Year of the Poor at the National Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) Assembly in Paco Catholic School last Nov. 13.

Tagle said BECs should transform into a community of missionaries as he noted that the assembly coincided with the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, which called for greater lay participation in the Church.

“A Christian community is an expression of communion. This community nurtured by the spirit of communion in the word of God, the sacraments, service, and mission is where every Christian grows faith,” Tagle said. 

BECs are defined as small Christian communities for the “full living of vocation” in rural and urban communities. In 1991, the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines proposed the BEC as a new way of “being the Church,” to help spread the Gospel in neighborhoods and villages. 

“The community of disciples goes out to the world in order to serve and to permeate the world with the Gospel and its values,” Tagle said.

Tagle said communities should promote unity amid diversity to become disciples of Jesus Christ. “Unity is not eliminated in diversity. And unity is maintained in diversity through sharing, mutuality and exchange of gifts,” Tagle said.

Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles highlighted the role of the BECs in preparing families to enter God’s kingdom, in his homily in the Holy Mass offered last Nov. 13. “BECs can become schools or families of discernment,” Valles said.

For his part, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said the laity should open themselves to being a community for the poor.

“This BEC is just one of the few things that could help deepen our appreciation of the Vatican II and to build a community of disciples to be the church of the poor,” Palma said in his homily during the Eucharistic celebration last Nov. 12.

The BEC conference was hosted by the Archdiocese of Manila and the dioceses of Pasig, Caloocan, Novaliches, Malolos, Antipolo, Parañaque, Imus and Cubao. Krystel Nicole A. Sevilla and Lea Mat P. Vicencio


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