Tarlac Bishop Florentino Cinense recently decreed that the parish of Sto. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer in Gerona town be the diocesan shrine of the Opus Dei founder, the first in Asia and the Philippines dedicated to the saint.
Cinense formally declared the decree on Feb. 14 before some 2,000 people at the completed church along MacArthur National Highway in Gerona, Tarlac. Its architect is Fr. Alex Bautista, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines consultant for church renovations and a professor at the College of Architecture of the University of Santo Tomas. He had worked in Hong Kong and China as an architect before entering the priesthood.
Bishop Cinense established the parish in February 2003. It consists of six barrios and sitios. “Many of the inhabitants here are farmers and they could not give much of what they have [materially]; but what they do have in abundance is work,” the bishop said, about the development of the church through the years.
And so, from temporary facilities in the Barangay Magaspac Hall in 2003, it has now become “one of the most aesthetically notable churches in the diocese of Tarlac,” Bishop Cinense added.
Concelebrating with Bishop Cinense were Bishop Jack Jose of Urdaneta, Pangasinan; Bishop Roberto Mallari of San Jose, Nueva Ecija; Msgr. Carlos Estrada, regional vicar of Opus Dei in the Philippines, and 40 other priests from the diocese of Tarlac.
The church features a revolutionary concept—what Father Bautista calls a “drive-through” visit to the Blessed Sacrament.
The back of the main tabernacle of the church has a glass window, making it visible from the driveway running through the back of the church. “From the highway, you can go around and stop at the back of this tabernacle, and you can visit without leaving your car,” said Fr. Bautista.
Bishop Cinense invited motorists to visit the Blessed Sacrament.
Perpetual Help parish in Taguig
Thirty-eight thousand parishioners, led by Fr. Mark Emman Sese of Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish in Perpetual Village in Taguig City, are working together to put up the funds for the construction of the new church in 18 months through their “Piso-Piso para sa Diyos” campaign.
The groundbreaking took place on March 1 at the corner of Sta. Rita St. and Daang Hari, and was led by Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara and Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano. The church has been designed by architect Ben Soriano in the Romanesque style. Also involved in the construction are Tony Que, construction committee chair; interior designer and architect Joey Amistoso; structural engineer Jose Sy; electrical engineer Raladin Mojica; and sanitary engineer Noel Francao.
The parish covers two barangays and 11 purok units.
Those who wish to help with any amount can deposit their peso donations to Banco de Oro: Our Mother of Perpetual Help Construction Fund Acct. No. 4360090032. Dollar donations can be deposited to BDO under the account RCBP-Our Mother of Perpetual Help Construction Fund No. 104360087899. Contact Nanette Jumarang, 0918-5522577 or 0917-5249887.
Childbirth manger in Leyte
From Cristina Ferreros, a native of Cebu and a member of the Bumi Wadah Foundation Medical Relief and Childbirth Manger in Leyte, “ground zero” of Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” comes this information about a project.
Midwife Robin Lim (CNN Hero 2011) describes what they are trying to achieve. “Our project is the Bumi Wadah Foundation Medical Relief and Childbirth Manger, camping at the San Jose Elementary School, in Barangay San Jose, just along the coastal road, south of Tacloban Airport. We are part of Dulag, but you reach San Jose before Dulag proper. We are open 24 hours, seven days a week.
“So far, in the camp, 180 babies have been born.
“We welcome visitors, who normally get to see and hug newborn babies! Naturally, we depend completely on donations, and always have challenges meeting our operational funds. (We are a non-profit organization, so we do not have the benefit of big international funding.)”
The baby was stillborn, but Robin didn’t stop resuscitation and manual heart-pumping. After eight minutes, her pulse beat again; after 22 minutes, the baby started breathing on its own. Miracles are happening at the Bumi Wadah Childbirth Manger. To help, log on to the website of Bumi Sehat Foundation Yayasan Wadah or call Wadah Philippines’ Cecille Ong at 6977483.
Mass of Remembrance
With St. Joseph as the patron saint of March, the Prayer Warriors of the Holy Souls (PWHS) are holding their Mass of Remembrance on March 10, 10:30 a.m., at the Chapel of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral on Lantana St., Cubao. Confessions will be available. Fr. Jojo Zerrudo will celebrate Mass at 11 a.m.
Condolences to the Guevara family for the passing of their first cousin Aniceto “Junn” Guevara, founder and manager of the New Minstrels in the early 1980s. He is the cousin of Chita Guevara Monfort of PWHS. Junn was a dear friend to us and Roxanne Lapuz, Ding Mercado, Susan and Efren Laureola, Baby O’Orien, et al., whom we all saw at the wake. Junn, may your soul rest in peace and pray for us in heaven!