|The Redemptorist Centre, Pattaya|
Pattaya (Thailand): BECs, being the pastoral thrust of the Diocese of Sandakan, announced by Rt Rev Julius Dusin Gitom, the Bishop of the Diocese, some three years back, are a great hope for the life of the local Church. In response to the prelate's vision, there are currently some 120 BECs established across the four parishes of the diocese. Continuous formation and exposure of leaders are necessary in order to sustain and enhance BECs.
|Msgr Ong with participants from the Diocese of Sandakan|
|The Chapel at the Redemptorist Centre|
The seven member delegation from the Diocese included Msgr Nicholas Ong, the rector of Holy Trinity Church of Tawau, Julita Kantod and Magrina Kiah also of the same parish, Leonie Degullacion and George Majawat of St Mary’s Cathedral, Sandakan, Richard Lobinjang and Albert Matussin of St Martin’s Church, Telupid. Msgr Ong was at the centre much earlier to attend the 1st Bishop’s Institute on Lay Apostolate (BILA) focused on Small Christian Communities (SCC) from October 18th – 23rd 2010.
|Albert Matussin proclaiming the Word of God|
Some 85 participants from across 11 countries were involved in the training workshops. They represented India, Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Mynmar, Indonesia, Philippine, Mongolia, Macau, and Thailand, the host country.
The participants were exposed to the following topics;
- Foundations for community building
- Participatory church
- Vision of the new way of being Church
- Understanding of Small Christian Communities
Participants, placed in mix groups or according to country shared on the current situation of SCCs / BECs and their contribution towards the growth of the local church. They experienced the 7-step Bible sharing and in the practice, they learn from one another the skill of facilitating Bible sharing in BECs' gatherings.
Subsequent to AsIPA One, there will be two other training workshops, AsIPA Two and Three to be conducted in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
Julita and Leonie