Basic Christian Communities (BCCs) in Prem Nagar Parish in Calcutta Archdiocese, India

In May 2008, Sister Christin, a National Service Team member of BCCs, along with some of the Basic Christian Communities (BCCs) Diocesan team members made a sudden visit to Prem Nagar Parish, just on the outskirts of Calcutta city. What she saw there made her deeply sad and so she decided to change the situation in the Prem Nagar Parish. The men, young and old sat around the church building in groups played cards and spent their time in drinking. She discussed her plan for Prem Nagar with Archbishop Lucas Sirkar of Calcutta and diocesan team members. All jointly began dreaming for a changed and renewed parish in Prem Nagar.

Prem Nagar Parish in May 2008

Mrs. Josefa, Mr. Prabhat and their friends from Prem Nagar (after a couple of training sessions for animators in Calcutta) and a few resource persons of diocesan BCCs team began forming BCCs in the parish. As a result they have 10 units now.

Prem Nagar Parish in January 2009 (after 8 months)

Church is full, growing in communion with the Lord and with one another.

All the BCC units are named after various saints. Together with their Parish Priest, Dilip SVD they have chosen their leaders for the BCCs. The leaders together with the parish priest have planned to meet every month to plan and evaluate their BCCs programmes and to make further action plans. These leaders requested for further training to learn how to conduct BCCs meetings in their own units. The Diocesan Team agreed to help them with the needed training.

Men centered on the Word

The Word of God is powerful. “For the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and return not thither but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”    (Is 55:10-11)

The Word of God builds community. Faith comes and grows from hearing the Word of God. Rom 10:17

Now the drinking and gambling groups have disappeared. Miss Pushpa says: “I had no interest in the church or religious matters. But BCCs have given me an experience of being a part of Christ’s body. So I decided to do everything possible for me to build up Prem Nagar Parish.”

Some of them were overjoyed about the changes in the Prem Nagar Parish and said, “When we were cleaning up the pond and surroundings of the church compound our Hindu neighbours made tea and bought biscuits for us. They were inspired by us.”

Mr. Prabhat said, “BCCs helped me to get reconciled to many people with whom I could not meet the eye. I never could look at their faces or talk to them. But now through the power of the Word of God and help from BCCs, I am reconciled to all and can talk to all people.”

When we read, meditate, share and put it into practice the word of God, we become the community built on the rock, “his witnesses in the world”, his disciples who follow his teachings and a new family, priest, prophet and king to the world.

Mary and Joseph are our models:

  • They received the Word into their life
  • They accepted the Word
  • Conceived the Word
  • Brought forth the Word
  • The pondered over the Word
  • Lived with the Word
  • Listened to the Word
  • Put it into practice
  • Communicated and shared the Word of God

Their home and the carpenter’s shop became a school of the gospel. So too, the members of BCCs want to make their homes schools of Gospel for their children.

Having experienced the meaning of Christian life and taste of community centered on the Gospel, they want to get more training in leadership and equip themselves to lead their BCCs in the parish and in the diocese.

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