The concept of a basic ecclesial community is found in the early Church, when the Church Fathers taught the Bible to believers to contribute to their spiritual formation. The purpose of the basic ecclesial community engaged in Bible study is “being taught and nourished by the Word of God” and “being formed and animated by the inspirational power conveyed by Scripture”.
The proliferation of base communities is due in part to the documents of the Second Vatican Council which called for the Catholic laity to take a more active role in the church, and also from the shortage of priests. They spread to Africa, and then to Asia where some have morphed into models for neighborliness in modern urban and ecumenical environments, with the hope that Christian renewal at the peripheries will impact cultural centers.
In the Philippines, the formation of BECs has been adopted as the pastoral priority of the Church throughout the country. In 1991, the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines decreed: “Basic Ecclesial Communities under various names and forms – BCCs, small Christian communities, covenant communities – must be vigorously promoted for the full living of the Christian vocation in both urban and rural areas. “The Council directed the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to “issue an official statement on BECs, on their nature and functions as recognized by the Church, making it clear that they are not simply another organization. This official statement of the CBCP shall be, among other things, for the proper orienting of priests and seminarians. Training for work with BECs shall be made part of seminary formation. “In 2007, the CBCP established the Episcopal Committee on Basic Ecclesial Communities with the task of assisting the dioceses in the promotion and formation of BECs. The small Christian communities in the Philippines often began as administrative or liturgical centers for the parishes, and have needed to evolve into consciousness-raising communities.
The Vicariate of St. John the Baptist Parish offered a thanksgiving mass for all the members of the Basic Ecclesial Community. It was attended by the Leaders and members of the BEC from Santuario del Sto. Cristo Parish, Santuario de San Jose in Greenhills and St. John the Baptist Parish in Pinaglabanan. Rev. Fr. Matthias, in his homily, he emphasized the importance of the basic ecclesial community in the parish, as we reached the members of the grassroots in our society. Bringing them closer to God and to be a living witness of God’s love.