Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle will wash the feet of drug addicts and policemen during the traditional Holy Thursday foot-washing ceremony at the Manila Cathedral next week. In the past years, the Archbishop of Manila observed the Holy Thursday tradition washing the feet of the elderly, women, and people with disabilities. Father Roy Bellen, spokesman of the Archdiocese of Manila, said the 12 people selected for the Holy Week ritual include former drug addicts and relatives of victims of drug-related killings.
The Holy Thursday ritual is the enactment of the gesture of Jesus at the Last Supper, before his passion and death, where he washed the feet of his apostles, as an example of humble service and love, asking them to do the same to others. The Holy Week which begins with Palm Sunday, is the most solemn period of the year for Christians that culminates into their greatest feast, Easter, the resurrection of Christ from death. Christians prepare themselves for Easter with a 40-day Lenten period of fasting, abstinence, prayers and good works that ends with the Holy Week and Easter.
Most communities in the predominantly Catholic Philippines observe Spanish-influenced Catholic rituals such as processions, church visits, and prayer marathons during the Holy Week. A Lenten exhibit dubbed "Pasion Gloria," which features Filipino Lenten images from the 17th century to the present, opened at the Manila Cathedral last month. The exhibits depict events and persons connected to the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. In Manila's Chinatown district, church-run Radio Veritas opened a Lenten exhibit that features images and replicas depicting the passion and death of Jesus Christ and images of the Virgin Mary. At the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Manila's Quiapo district, new features have been added to the church to help Lenten reflections. Cardinal Tagle will lead Holy Week services starting on Palm Sunday. (Source: UCAN)