Posts Tagged mgcp

A Trip Around Taal Lake

Yesterday, our community went around Taal Lake visiting in turn the Lipa Cathedral, the Carmel of Lipa, the Cathedral of Taal. The Lipa Cathedral (San Sebastian) and the Taal Cathedral were both built by the Augustinians. The present form of both churches date back to the 1800s although the foundation of Taal Cathedral (San Nicolas) dates back to 1575, just ten years after the Augustinians landed on Philippine shores.

San Pedro to Lipa

It was raining when we made our way to Lipa City reaching it after an hour’s ride. By then the sun was already shining and there were a lot of people on the cathedral ground. This is in sharp contrast to the Iglesya ni Cristo Church just some meters away which was empty. After a few minutes at the Cathedral, we went looking for the Carmel of Lipa which was the site of a miracle of roses some years ago. It is said that the Vatican is reviewing its case. Then from Carmel we proceeded to Taal and the massive stone Church that used to be the largest in Southeast Asia.

Around Taal Lake

The Taal Cathedral is one massive edifice. It is one of the churches that the Augustinians left to the diocesan clergy in the 1900s. The Augustinians held on to their parish churches until that time, the last of the friars to accede to secularization. One of the main reasons for this was the 1898 Revolution.

More pictures are available at the Gallery.

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Changes At MGCP

New Gallery Pics

PREX at Olympia VI  OLM at Olympia I

BEC Advanced  Fourth Anniversary

Some more pictures at the AgustinongPinoy Gallery!

The new pictures highlight current changes in our parish. The visit of Our Lady of Manaoag in July 2009 gave the residents of Olympia I an occassion to present the newly renovated facade of their chapel. The new construction is actually the expression of a deeper reality of the Resurrection visita: the growth of their communities of faith. From one cell group, their communities of faith now number four.

Our PREX program has been expanding since last year. Batch 83 was held at the St. Joseph visita (Olympia VI) with twenty-two participants finishing the basic course. The lay leaders of the visita had a formation house constructed at the back of the chapel for this purpose. A lot of the participants from this batch were from Maligaya VI which celebrated its four year as a Christian community last July 25, 2009. We hope that these graduates will later on join us in the BEC Advanced Training.

The BEC Advanced Training is one feature of our PREX program that has begun to contribute to the building up of basic cell communities in the parish. The training program helps cell leaders become more familiar with the Scriptures through different modules designed for the purpose. Training is provided by cell leaders themselves who teach the others skills related to leadership and or the understanding of Scriptures that each have developed previously. In this way modules like the following have been incorporated in our training:

Course Module
Intelligent Reading Sentence Flow Analysis
Methodology: Effective Note-taking Building up Catalogues and Dossiers
Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels Studying the Feeding of the Multitudes
Leadership Skills Introduction to Christian Leadership

Visit the Gallery of new pictures below.

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It is a slow grind towards Easter. Holy Monday will see members of the parish go on their Visita Iglesia in Quezon Province and some of the friars will be accompanying them. By that time, we shall have finished the first BEC Ministry modules for the Parish Renewal Experience. Yup, we have made the move of making PREX the agent for building-up small communities of faith in our parish. It is something that was already embedded in the renewal experience, with its insistence on the Church as the family of God. The inspirational document behind PREX — Paul VI’s Evangelii Nuntiandi — is clear in making the connection between evangelization and the creation of a new culture. The experience of Basic Ecclesial Communities in Puebla and in our own less known islands points to them as communities that evangelize and through which a new Christian culture from the grassroots is created. In Latin America, they created a new way of theologizing which bore the name “Liberation Theology” and was quite “hot” in the seventies and eighties. In the Philippines, basic ecclesial cell groups are no longer confused with the cell groups of the New People’s Army, I hope. Now that Liberation Theology has been institutionalized, we can get into the matter of allowing the people from the grassroots to “be Church.”

Some people may fault me for the way I formulated that last sentence. It would seem as if “the people from the grassroots” have been prevented from becoming what they are: “the Church”, the Body of Christ. If there is another way of formulating the reality of lay people rediscovering that “being Church” is their vocation and mission, I’d gladly listen to it and perhaps even write about it here. The fact is that with the Parish Renewal Experience as we knew it before only brought our parishioners to the experience that they belong to the family of God. To sustain that experience and have them live that new knowledge within a concrete embodiment of the Church where brotherly love, ministry and mutual service are manifested, that is, in small groups of faith, hope and charity, then the Basic Ecclesial Community should be the “natural” result of the Parish Renewal Experience.

At least, that is the way I thought it would work. And it does seem to work that way.  The only problem that I see at the moment is that the BEC models we know grew and developed in rural areas.  We live in an urban setting: the parish straddles subdivisions with their own home owners’ associations and an urban-poor area (previously known as squatters’ areas).  How to make our BEC model work here is still a matter of experimentation that is already succeeding in some parts.

In any case, the Church in its two thousand years of existence has never stopped experimenting, exercising her faith in creative ways.  So why should we stop being creative?

Progress of our BEC Ministry training and practise is monitored by the PREX Newsletter of our parish.  Until this writing, two issues have gone out and are available for download in the following links:

The newsletter is written in Filipino and is found in PDF format.


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