The groundbreaking ceremony of the University’s upcoming project, the Shrine of St. John Baptist de La Salle, was conducted last January 26 at the DLSU Laguna Campus. Prominent administrators such as DLSU Chancellor Br. Bernie Oca FSC, DLSU President Br. Raymond Suplido FSC, De La Salle Philippines President Br. Armin Luistro FSC, Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Development Josemari Calleja were in attendance, as well as the building’s architect, Carlos Arnaiz.
A groundbreaking display of faith
The ceremony took place during the anniversary of both the transfer of the Relics of St. La Salle to Rome as well as the day that the Lasallian Brothers were recognized by the Catholic Church. “There is no more fortuitous day than today, to lay a cornerstone of the shrine,” Oca stated.
Oca, in his opening remarks, explained that the shrine will be “a place for members of the Lasallian community and educators alike [to] draw upon the strength and wisdom of God.” He also emphasized the importance of using the shrine as a place of reflection and solace for those who wish to visit it.
Shrine of Teachers
The shrine is scheduled to be completed in May 2020. It will feature a main congregation hall with a seating capacity of around 1,000, as well as a baptistry and an automatic belltower. There are also future plans to set up a columbarium, but Calleja stated that these plans are still on the drawing board.
Calleja explained that Laguna Campus was chosen for the shrine’s site because of a lack of an institutional chapel. “We are a Catholic education institution, so right after we work on the main academic and research facilities of the campus, it is but fitting we work on the religious spaces of the campus,” he explained.
However, the chapel is not only for the Laguna Campus community. Also called the “Shrine of Teachers” after the mission that St. La Salle dedicated his life to, it is hoped that all teachers of different faiths and backgrounds may come as pilgrims to the shrine. As Luistro explained, “I dream that some day in 2020, public school teachers who would never [have] dreamed of coming to any Lasallian institution would troop to this shrine, pray about their own journey of faith as they discover God in their encounter with young people.”
In line with this, there are plans to move the main relic of St. La Salle from its current home in Rome to the shrine for veneration. Luistro explained that the new site would be a good opportunity to make the relic more accessible to others, believing that “we have kept John Baptist De La Salle too much of a secret and a gift within the Lasallian Community and maybe a little bit within the church.”
The shrine’s construction team is currently looking for donors for its funding, anyone interested in donating are encouraged to contact the Advancement and Alumni Relations Office (AARO) through [email protected]