MANILA Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle on Maundy Thursday will wash the feet of representatives of migrants, refugees and displaced people, including the parents of Joanna Demafelis, the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) whose body was found inside a freezer in Kuwait last month.
The cardinal will perform the traditional foot-washing ceremony of 12 people during the evening mass of the Lord's Supper at the Manila Cathedral at 5 p.m. on March 29.
In a statement Tuesday, the cathedral said these people will be part of the activity, as part of Tagle's response to the appeal of Pope Francis, who expressed concern for migrants and refugees whom he calls men and women in search of peace.
It noted that Crisanto and Eva Demafelis were included since their experience is a witness to the plight of our fellow Filipinos working abroad who, despite the presence of danger, risked their safety to give their families in the Philippines a decent life.
Aside from the Demafelis couple, Tagle will also wash the feet of Fr. Teresito Chito Soganub, the priest from the Prelature of Marawi, who has worked tirelessly for Christian-Muslim dialogues in Mindanao.
Even after his agonizing ordeal as a hostage during the Marawi crisis, he says he still believes in promoting understanding and peace among peoples. In this Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons, his living witness is a beacon of faith and communion, said the statement.
Also included are foreigners, Masih and Shazia Irfan, both Catholics, who had sought refuge in the country because of religious persecution in their homeland.
This is a new mission for the Philippine Church opening our arms to our Christian brethren who suffer persecution in the country, it added.
Tagle will likewise wash the feet of Danilo and Janet Pelayo with their daughter Danica, a family relocated from their home in Paco, Manila to Cabuyao, Laguna.
They represent the thousands of families in poor communities who face the risk of losing their only known home and the challenge of starting over again, it said.
Lumad leaders and evacuees, Isidro Indao and Kayla Bontolan, who fled their land because of massive militarization and destruction by logging and mining companies, will also be part of the Maundy Thursday activity.
These 'environmental defenders' open our eyes to the new reality of environmental refugees, the statement added.
The head of the Archdiocese of Manila will likewise wash the feet of Giovanni and Yolicres Badidles of the Philippine Navy.
For a long time, they spent their lives separated from each other by their assignments, with Giovanni in Northern Luzon, and Yolicres, as part of the Combat Force patrolling the West Palawan seas. Their lives are images of our soldiers who are displaced because of their assignments, as they willingly offer their lives to defend our nation, it said.
The other activities for Maundy Thursday are the Mass of the Chrism at 7 a.m. which all priests of the archdiocese will attend in celebration of the institution of the priesthood.
Source: Philippine News Agency