ORANI, Bataan — Village churchgoers of Barangay Tala and nearby village Pagasa of this municipality got a grand, early Christmas gift from a renowned businessman from Pampanga last Saturday.
Rodolfo “Bong” Pineda was among the noted guests when Bataan Bishop Ruperto C. Santos led the Consecration of the Altar of the newly-constructed St. Josephine Bakhita Parish Church.
The prelate was joined by Bataan priests and the Canossian Sons of Charity, visitors composed of local government officials, local press, church workers and the Knights of Columbus St. Josephine Bakhita Council.
Fr. Fabio who came directly from the Vatican, representing Pope Francis, brought the first-class relic of St. Josephine Bakhita. He formally turned it over to Bishop Santos for the local clergy’s safekeeping here.
Josephine Margaret Bakhita, (circa 1869 – 8 February 1947) was a Sudanese-Italian Canossian religious sister active in Italy for 45 years, after having been a slave in Sudan.
On the 1st of October 2000, she was canonized as Saint Josephine Bakhita. She is venerated as a modern African saint, and as a statement against the brutal history of slavery. She has been adopted as the patron saint of Sudan and human trafficking survivors. Bakhita’s legacy is that transformation is possible through suffering.
Pineda, according to Bishop Santos, is the major financier of the said church project along with other well-known donors which include former National Security Adviser Norberto “Norbie” Gonzales and former Bataan lawmaker and former SBMA Chairman Felicito “Tong” Payumo.
Bong Pineda, who owns the now famous golf & country club and resort Pradera Verde in Lubao town, is the father of Pampanga Governor Dennis “Delta” Pineda and husband of Vice Governor Lilia “Nanay Baby” Pineda.