BEC Must Be An Agent Of Transformation In The Face Of War, Says Missionary

Sr. Nelinda Anover of the Rural Missionaries Philippines (Photo credit: Glenn Velasco)

“The BEC must not only remain liturgical, but also be an agent of transformation entering into the developmental aspect of helping the Maranaws, while helping the victims recover and rebuild their lives,” said by Rural Missionaries Philippines Sr. Nelinda Anover during the Diocese of Novaliches Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC NOVA) 6th Communion of Communities (COC) Forum Series held at St. Peter Parish Shrine of Leaders at Commonwealth, Quezon City last 29 June 2017.

According to Sr. Anover, the BEC may perhaps be the most effective ministry that the Catholic Church can utilize in responding to the situation in Marawi and with the signs of the times. She said, time and again, many bishops have underscored the effectivity of the BEC as an agent of transformation that is very much not placed into play in the many activities of the Church.

Sr. Anover’s reflections were based on the Forum’s title, “Faith in Times of Crisis: Reflection on Marawi Situation”. She also posed a challenge to the BEC Novaliches to duplicate the BEC in Marawi and to become an agent of transformation dealing with the developmental aspects of helping the survivors recover, as well as, rebuild their lives.

Prior to Sr. Anover, Muslim-Christians People’s Alliance Secretary General Ms. Amirah Ali Lidasan also delivered a keynote address on what was actually happening in Marawi. She gave a first-hand account of how it was to be in the center of the battlefield–the harsh realities of being entrapped in the middle of the war between the Maute terrorist group and the government–and how the government was responding to the problems encountered by the survivors.

She underscored the reality that terrorism was just a reaction to the many ills of society that the government has long been neglecting to address. She pointed out that not only the Moros, Lumads, and Maranaws that are displaced but also Protestants and other religions present in Marawi. The indiscriminate bombings that the government has been conducting added to the suffering along with the fact that the government only listens to the military instead to those actually affected.

Moreover, the capitalist-based rehabilitation that the government is proposing is seen to further displace the Maranaws, Lumads, Christians and Moros, and other affected groups in Marawi.  She fears that when the pro business sector solution has been put in place, the survivors may eventually be labeled as terrorists to be driven out to give way to capitalists interested in the area.

The two speakers nevertheless emphasized there is hope for Marawi–and this is through the BECs. The BEC will take a major role in the rehabilitation and transformation of the lives of the survivors of the Marawi situation.

Sr. Anover adds that if the BEC will be duplicated in Marawi City, it can help greatly in the efforts to rehabilate, rebuild, and transform those who survived the war against terrorism.

She challenged the BEC and the Youth to go out of their comfort zones and delve into the developmental aspects of helping the survivors. The Youth, being aware of the situation already, can be creative enough to come up with various means to promote the culture in the area, help the survivors, and at the same time be in tune with the times.

The started with a recap of the 5th Forum which discussed the Missionary perspective of the BEC. It then proceeded with an animation to liven up and prepare the participants for the keynote addresses which was to be delivered by and Sr. Nelinda Anover of the Rural Missionaries Philippines.

Designed to celebrate the Year of the Parish as Communion of Communities, the 6th COC Forum began with a recap of the previous forum, an animation to liven up the participants who came from the various parishes of the Diocese of Novaliches, and ended with a group discussion among participants aside from an open forum. (~Glenn Velasco)  

BECs in discussion. (Photo credit: Glenn Velasco)