MANILA, Philippines – Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle is set to wash the feet of rescued Marawi priest Father Teresito "Chito" Soganub during the traditional Washing of the Feet at the Manila Cathedral on Holy Thursday, March 29.
Soganub was the priest rescued from the terrorist Maute Group in September 2017 after 116 days in captivity. (READ: Marawi priest Chito Soganub says captivity a 'test of faith')
Tagle will also wash the feet of Crisanto and Eva Demafelis, parents of Joanna Demafelis, the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) found dead in a freezer in Kuwait. (READ: 'A national shame': The death and homecoming of Joanna Demafelis)
In a statement on Holy Tuesday, March 27, the Manila Cathedral said Soganub and the Demafelis couple will be among 12 people whose feet Tagle will wash on Holy Thursday. Tagle "will wash the feet of those coming from the community of migrants, refugees, and displaced peoples," the Manila Cathedral said.
The Holy Thursday Mass, called the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper, is scheduled at 5 pm on Thursday at the Manila Cathedral. The Washing of the Feet ritual, a symbol of Christ's command to love one another, takes place within this Mass. (READ: The washing of the feet: A lesson in humility and service)
In 2017, Tagle washed the feet of former drug addicts and policemen, while in 2016, an election year, he washed the feet of Commission on Elections Chair Andres Bautista and 11 others.
Below is the complete list of people whose feet Tagle will wash on Holy Thursday 2018, as lifted from the Manila Cathedral's statement:
Mr and Mrs Crisanto and Eva Demafelis, parents of Joanna Demafelis, the Filipina OFW in Kuwait who was recently found dead in a freezer. 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.
Mr and Mrs Irfan Masih and Shaziah Irfan, foreigners and both Catholics, who sought refuge in our 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 their country.
Mr and Mrs 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.
Isidro Indao and Kaylo Bontolan, both Lumad leaders and evacuees who fled their homelands because of the massive militarization and destruction by logging and mining companies. These "environmental defenders" open our eyes to the new reality of environmental refugees.
Mr and Mrs Giovanni and Yolicres Badidles, both from 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.
Father Teresito "Chito" Soganub, a priest from the Prelature of Marawi, has worked tirelessly for Christian-Muslim dialogue 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.
Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at email@example.com.