19 July 2008

Formation of BECs through the Devotion of the Divine Mercy

Last 19 July 2008, the first neighborhood community consisting of ten (10) families was formed in the parish. The next day, two other communities were formally introduced to the community apostolate program of the parish, the "Divine Mercy Family Evangelization Program". Five more communities consisting of ten families each were formed. Through this program, the parish hopes to strengthen already existing Basic Ecclesial Communities, and form new communities. The program is hinged on the popular devotion of the parish, which has gained a wide acceptance among the parishioners, the devotion to the Divine Mercy.

The basic understanding of the Basic Ecclesial Community falls on the following, as expressed in the Archdiocesan Pastoral Assembly (1997): it is a small community whose members are united with each other, and to their pastor; it is a community which gathers around the Word of God and nourished by the Eucharist and the Sacraments. Most of these communities emerge mostly among the poor at the grassroots.  What then is the "Family Evangelization Program" and what role does the devotion to the Divine Mercy play in the formation of these neighborhood Christian communities?

The first community formed called themselves "Kapayapaan Uno" because the families come from a certain geographical area called "Purok Kapayapaan" in Barangay Anonang. The ten families have been neighbors for a long time, bound by blood relations, primarily, and informal association. Hence, they have known each other for quite a while. The underlying factor that would keep the families together, and hence, that will provide a common, continuing activity of the families is the devotion to the Divine Mercy through the "Visitation of the Image" from one house to the next. The image of the Divine Mercy will stay in one family for a week, after which, it will "visit" the next family. While the image stays in one house, the family is encouraged to pray daily the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy and the Three o'clock prayer, both elements of the devotion. 
On the first day, the members of the family welcome the Image. Together with the other families, they pray the devotional prayers welcoming the image, as well as the consecration of the family to the Divine Mercy. After a week, the ten families gather together at the home where the image is. They will hold a Bible Sharing, i.e., they share the Word of God. The sharing of the Word is a basic activity of the community. This is also the opportunity for them to discuss relevant issues affecting their lives. It is also in this Prayer/Bible Sharing that Catholic Doctrines and Practices will be discussed and lived. The parish team provides the families with the catechism and questions to be reflected upon for the week.