Friday, November 18, 2011

BAPP: To Give for the Church to Live

by Fil Fernandez

The Balik Alay sa Panginoon Program (BAPP) was a brainchild of Bishop Honesto F. Ongtioco, of the Diocese of Cubao. Calling it “Evangelizing and Sustaining the Local Church through the Spirituality of Stewardship,” the program focused on building the Church of the poor and anchored on (1) Incarnational Spirituality; (2) Integral Formation Program; (3) Organizational building of Ecclesial Communities; and (4) Servant Leadership.
In ROLP, a core group was organized to handle the program, which was formally launched by Bishop Ongtioco during the 10:00 a.m. Mass in ROLP on 8 April 2007. Since then, the program made a critical mass of parishioners aware of giving as a way of showing their gratitude to the Lord.
Since its launching, 295 members thus far have signed up. Donations to the BAPP Fund have supported various pastoral programs, and projects, notably the Parish Renewal Experience, Pre-Cana seminars, mass weddings, youth seminars as well as church construction, equipment, and repairs.
Speaking to individual participants, one gets the impression that the BAPP has deepened their spirituality as they share not only their time and talents but also their treasure to the least of our brethren. To them, the BAPP draws on the need to respond generously to our Father’s infinite grace, thus fostering a culture that takes stewardship to be a joyful expression of love for God and neighbors.
Tithing, as the Israelites did in Old Testament times, is not required. But we are encouraged to commit to the Lord a portion of our income regularly and systematically. A commitment form and envelope for regular donations are available to any parishioner interested to join the program. A box is provided where the envelopes filled with donations may be dropped during Sunday masses. Once emptied by the BAPP secretariat, who keeps tab of participants and their donations, the envelopes are placed in the stewardship rack, from which they may be taken to be filled anew with donations. The secretariat makes a report every third Sunday of the month.
Our Christian sharing mirrors, hopefully, Christ’s bleeding and sharing of Himself in the Eucharist, with the bread and wine symbolizing “This is my Body for you!”

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