SELVISTER PONNUMUTHAN, The Spirituality of Basic Ecclesial Communities in the Socio-Religious Context of Trivandrum/Kerala, India
One of the important contributions
of the Second Vatican Council is the re-discovery of the understanding
of the Church as the «People of God». The incarnate effect
of such an understanding is reflected in the emergence of Basic Ecclesial
Communities (BECs). The BECs, also known by other names such as small
Christian communities, basic Christian communities, are described
as a new way of being the Church and are considered as the work of the
Holy Spirit in our time. Since BECs exist in the concrete situations of
the people they serve as a means of «evangelization» (NE 58)
and Christian formation.
The present study, with a comprehensive presentation of the phenomenon and the spirituality of BECs in the Church, brings out the spirituality of Basic Ecclesial Communities in the socio-religious context of the Latin Rite Diocese of Trivandrum/Kerala, India.
Through an analysis of different castes and religion in the region the author explores the socio-theological factors which prompted the local Church of Trivandrum to shift its traditional pastoral model from ecclesial communities, which were founded by St. Francis Xavier and other missionaries, to basic ecclesial communities, and shows the dynamic aspect of the spirituality of BECs (about 2.600) which, although still maturing, is basically a personal and communitarian commitment to follow Jesus Christ and to love one's neighbour - not an imaginary neighbour - in the living cultural situation. In view of the approaching third millennium, the study opens a new horizon to form basic human communities through which the message of the Kingdom of God will incarnate effectively in every social context.
SELVISTER PONNUMUTHAN, was born in 1956
at Viraly-Utchakkada, Kerala, India. He was ordained priest for the diocese
of Trivandrum in 1981 after his philosophical and theological studies at
St. Joseph's Pontifical Seminary, Alwaye. After ten years of pastoral ministry
in the diocese, he continued his studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University,
Rome, from where he obtained Licentiate and Doctorate in Spiritual Theology.
(C) PUG 1999