BUILDING FAITH: A Triple Celebration
“You shall be called ‘Trinidad’!”
This was how Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, D.D. honored Mrs. Noemi Lirag Saludo, Founder and President of Bahay ng Diyos Foundation, Inc., at her birthday celebration last May 30 at The Manila Hotel.
Cardinal Tagle praised the valiant efforts of Saludo in church building, which he saw as a profound manifestation of the indwelling of the Holy Trinity in the Church. The celebration of the Holy Eucharist, which Cardinal Tagle led together with other bishops and priests from around the country, was for the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity. Providentially, it was also the 9th anniversary celebration of the Foundation.
Noemi Saludo, a much accomplished business leader (she was the first and so far, only woman President of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry), church-builder and, recently, organic vegetable farmer, made the 9th anniversary of Bahay ng Diyos Foundation as the highlight of the evening’s celebration, saying it was the biggest turning point of her life.
“I had fame, power, and glamour in my career, but I turned away from it to follow a new mission,” she told her guests that night.
In 2006, a year after her stint in PCCI and grieving over the death of a loved one, Noemi found herself in deep prayer at Saint Bartholomew Parish in San Manuel, Pangasinan. There she felt a ‘calling’ from the Lord to serve Him and His Church, and looking around the church, she saw its dilapidated condition. She realized at that moment what the Lord was asking from her.
She helped fund the repair of the parish church and upon its completion, then Manila Archbishop Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales, D.D. led the community in a Eucharistic Celebration to thank the Lord for their refurbished church. It was the beginning of a collaboration between Mrs. Saludo and Cardinal Rosales, who became the Chairman of the Foundation’s Advisory Council composed of some Members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.
By September of the same year, Bahay ng Diyos Foundation, Inc., was formally created and registered as a non-stock, non-profit organization with a primary mission to help fund church building projects in various dioceses in the Philippines. Funding is sourced from generous individual and corporate donors. The Foundation is led by a Board of Trustees composed of lay persons who are distinguished in their respective careers and in their dedication to serve the Church.
Since 2006, the Foundation has helped over 60 parish communities, shrines, and mission areas, with assistance ranging from construction of a new parish church or restoration of heritage churches, to lighting, flooring, or roofing installations.
Mrs. Saludo announced during the celebration a new undertaking, and that is to help rebuild the parish church of Saint Michael the Archangel in Clarin, and the parish church of the Holy Cross in Maribojoc, both under the Diocese of Tagbilaran in Bohol. Both churches were heavily damaged by a strong earthquake that hit the province in October 2013.
To help raise funds for this endeavor, the Foundation launched a new book titled, ICONS: Windows to the Soul by Filipino visual artist Gerard Sison. The book is an inspiring narrative that will draw the reader to appreciate the masterful depiction of popular Saints through visual art, and annotated with the artist’s personal witnessing while doing each portrait.
Sison unveiled ‘ICONS’ during the event and displayed at the venue some of the paintings featured in the book, including those of Saint Francis of Assisi, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Saint John Paul II.
ICONS: Windows to the Soul will be made available at selected Fully Booked branches and in a few local Catholic stores. Each copy is available for P2,000 and proceeds from its sales will go to the church construction fund of Clarin and Maribojoc.
Several Church, civic, and business dignitaries graced the May 30 event: Cardinal Tagle, Cardinal Rosales, Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles, D.D. of Lipa, Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo, D.D. of Jaro, Archbishop Paciano B. Aniceto, D.D. of San Fernando, Pampanga, Bishop Manolo A. Delos Santos, D.D. of Virac, and Bishop Nereo P. Odchimar, D.D. of Tandag, Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto and Vice Governor Mark Leviste, National Historical Commission Chairperson Maria Serena Diokno, business leaders Jose Chung of MC Home Depot, Andrew Hoad of Asian Terminals Inc., and Henry Lim Bon Liong of Sterling Paper, among other VIPs in attendance.
Another project this year is the development of a parcel of land in Barangay San Benito in Lipa City, which will be a haven for those who wish to find solitude and retreat in the peace and quiet of nature. This will be called ‘Hardin ng Dalangin’ (Garden of Prayer) and will find at its center a new Shrine of the Divine Mercy.
The Foundation still needs much more generosity in time, talent, and treasure to see these projects through to completion. Those who wish to donate can issue a check payable to Bahay ng Diyos Foundation, Inc. or make a bank transfer to: Bahay ng Diyos Foundation Inc., Banco de Oro Savings Account No. 459 010 0455 / Swift Code: BNORPHMM.
For book orders, please call (02) 531-1182 or 623-1089. You may also write to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also ‘like’ us on Facebook: Bahay ng Diyos Foundation Inc. and ‘follow’ us on Twitter: BahayngDiyos.