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New book explains Biblical inspiration for BECs

New book explains Biblical inspiration for BECs

The author (center) Fr. Deogracias Aurelio V. Camon, Ph.D., with Dr. Ma. Mercedes Joson, Dean of the Graduate School of La Consolacion College – Bacolod; Dr. Dennis Madrigal PACRE president; Rosabella Erillo, Center for Biblical Literacy and Education vice president; and Ofelia Cayiteles PACRE secretary PACRE

By Fr. Mickey Cardenas

April 19, 2018


The Philippine Association of Catholic Religious Educators, Inc. (PACRE), in collaboration with the Center for Biblical Literacy and Education (CBLE), published a new book titled “Shemot: A People Remembered” that sheds light on the Biblical roots of the inspiration for the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC).

The author, Fr. Deogracias Aurelio V. Camon, Ph.D., described the book as “a socio-historical analysis of the Book of Exodus correlating it with the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) as an experiment of social liberation.”
Identity, narratives, and memory

In demonstrating the book’s significance in relation to the Church and the country today Camon said, “There is an emerging need for us to engage in forming a narrative of how we understand ourselves as Filipinos.”
“The book of Exodus (“Shemot”) teaches that there is a need to share in a story that would direct how a people remember the past, influence how it acts in the present, and provides guidance to its future,” he pointed out.

‘Fake narratives’

According to the priest, a nation is truly liberated if its historical identity is made relevant to the present and transmitted effectively to the succeeding generation through stories and rituals that embody its aspiration as a nation.

“Nations are narratives. The stories we tell and circulate about ourselves form us into who we are. If we are not able to do so, our national narratives will be held captive by those who are in power, socially or politically,” the Bible scholar warned.

To illustrate this affirmation with a historical fact, the book showed that in the 1980s the diocese of Bacolod, during the episcopacy of Bishop Antonio Fortich, established the Basic Ecclesial Communities (Kristianong Katilingban) as a response to the socials ills of the time.

“These grassroots movements are commonly called ‘church in the neighborhood’ because they are commonly composed of families that belong to the same locality,” he explained.

According to Camon, these communities proved to be “an effective response” to the needs of the time.

First of a five-part series

The book is the first volume of a projected five-part series, he said, that will cover the entire Five Books of Moses (Pentateuch) in the Old Testament.

Members of the academe, students, and other representatives of the lay faithful attended the book launching of “Shemot: A People Remembered,” which was held at Felicia’s Café in Bacolod City on April 8.
Those interested in obtaining a copy of the book, may email the author at