Bukal ng Tipan (spring of covenants), a pastoral centre in the Philippines, started in 2001, founded by Fr. Mark Lesage CICM, the parish priest, together with a team of lay pastoral workers from the St. Joseph Parish in Las Pinas. As a parish, St. Joseph was a frequent place for immersion on Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) and Participatory Church praxis for Asian and Western pastoral ministers.
In the first years, Bukal programs were given at the pastoral centre. We invite people from different dioceses for courses in Bukal. As we worked with dioceses, dioceses began to invite us to their places. From these initial visits to dioceses, we will learn the foremost principles of our pastoral centre: we need to be contextualized (not just wait for people to come to the centre and attend predesigned programs); we need to build up local teams in the dioceses we work with (instead of them depending on us); we need to help set-up sustaining systems (so that the dioceses themselves are motivated and empowered to design their own processes and programs based on their vision and mission).
We moved from the centre to the local areas, and in doing so became context-based, responsive to specific needs and thus more mission-oriented. From giving pastoral courses, Bukal moved to facilitating processes of local church development. From pastoral consultants, we became more conscious that we are partners and co-disciples with the different teams we encounter.
Bukal’s mission is to journey with peoples towards a participatory church in the world. A participatory church participates in the life of God, in the life of the community, and in the life of the world, engaging in public issues and networking with civic society so as to witness to the reign of God’s justice and peace in our world.
We believe that we cannot give what we do not have. In Bukal, we live as a faith community. Our working style is also participatory. We always request for a local team to partner with. As outsiders, we do not know the diocese and we are not there to give answers. A first step in our work with dioceses is culture and context research. We want to design pastoral programs that are culture-fit and context-responsive. We want to listen to the pulse of the local communities. Our pastoral programs intend to bridge this wide gap between faith and daily life.
From culture and context research, we, together with the local teams, design frameworks, processes and programs for different communities – clergy and lay. There would be a lot of leadership training, community-organizing and formation as well as spiritual experiences needed to facilitate cultural and structural change towards a shared vision articulated by the communities.
We reach around 10,000 people yearly in the courses, seminars, and assemblies we facilitate. But in 2018, we reached 19,000 people in 23 dioceses in and out of the country. We wish to partner with more dioceses in the Philippines, Asia and Europe and focus on the clergy, base communities and the youth.
As a learning community, it is a privilege to participate in Network Pastoral Asia to meet other pastoral centres in Asia to learn from them, share resources and be inspired in the work of evangelization.
Below is our Community Journeying Process, our framework of partnership with dioceses.
Dr. Estela Padilla (Director)