Friday, March 31, 2006


Bro. Tony told me that they would be waiting for us at the foot bridge. He told me that there was but one way: it was down, down... until we would reach the foot bridge. It was the end of the road, literally. We parked the red Parish Jeep at the foot bridge. Bernard and I were met by Bros. Aries and Ben.

"Let's go", Aries said. "Where?", I asked.

"See that mango tree up there? That's where we will be going." Bro. Ben said. Bro. Ben has been with the BEC formation team for a while. He is about sixty years or more.

I looked up. I saw a mango tree. But it was way up, up. I told myself, "That could not be it. There must be another mango tree he was referring to. That tree is several kilometers away!"

We walked under the blazing sun at 12 noon! I just celebrated a wedding mass at 10:00 AM and celebrated the sacrament of baptism after that. I was looking forward to a nice, cool shade to relax for the BOS (Basic Orientation Seminar) for BEC (Basic Ecclesial Communities). Not a hot, long and winding climb!

I could hear my breath which was becoming shorter and shallower. Bro. Ben who was walking behind me was breathing hard. I could literally hear him gasped for air! But he was urging me on. "Kaya tayo ya, Father!" We could do this, Father.

At around 12:40 PM we reached the "Ulo'y Dueg" or "Carabao's Head". I flopped myself literally at the first chair I saw, perspiring profusely, while Bros. Aries and Ben went under the shade of that mango tree. Bernard was looking at me with his toothless smile.

The community prepared a lunch of rice, beans and crabs (in the mountains?) There are about 27 households in that place. A very ideal number to form a Christian community among these families.

We rested after eating lunch; then gathered the people together under the shade of the mango tree. We had several action songs before Bro. Tony began his talk on the BEC. I was there to lend my presence, share some thoughts on the vision of the church in building Christian communities, and listen to their voices.

This truly is the Church, families coming together, praying together, serving one another.

Going back would not be so difficult anymore . . .

26 March 2006, Sunday.