In Tacloban Mass, rare Jesus statue to share stage with Pope
TACLOBAN CITY—It’s an image of Jesus Christ as rare as the occasion during which it would share the limelight with Pope Francis.
The image, which has movable parts, could be made to lie down or attached to a cross.
Fr. Gilbert Urbina, chair of the Commission on Liturgy of the Palo Archdiocese, said this image of Christ is used by the archdiocese every Good Friday for the reenactment of the crucifixion and Christ’s body being laid on the tomb.
“Its body parts are movable depending on how you intend it to be,” Urbina said.
During Mass here by the Pope, the life-size image would be installed on a seven-foot-tall cross to be venerated by Francis.
To be on the altar, too, would be icons of Sto. Niño de Tacloban and a seven-foot image of the Our Lady of Hope holding the Child Jesus with an extended hand.
The Marian image was created by artist Willy Layug, presidential merit awardee for ecclesiastical art and a native of Guagua town in Pampanga province.
Layug had been commissioned to sculpt three images to be used during the papal visit.
The Archdiocese of Palo, which has ecclesiastical jurisdiction over Tacloban City, is in the final stretch of preparations for the Pope’s visit.
“This is the first time that a Pope will visit Tacloban and even the whole of Leyte,” Urbina said.
“It’s both a privilege and a challenge. And we’re definitely thankful. It’s a privilege many would have wanted to experience. Hence, we should grab the opportunity,” he said.
Fr. Chris Arthur Militante, Palo archdiocese information and social communications officer, said the Pope would be seated at the center of a U-shaped table inside the dining room of the Archbishop’s Residence during lunch with survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” and the Bohol earthquake.
Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle of Manila and Palo Archbishop John Du will be the only other Church officials at the lunch, which Militante said would start around 12:50 p.m. and last for at least an hour.
The Pope will take a 30-minute nap before proceeding to bless the Pope Francis Center built by the Vatican for the elderly and homeless children.
Father Urbina, who is in charge of preparations for the papal Mass here, said Palo Church officials had wanted to give Francis a grand welcome but representatives of the Pope sent word that Francis wouldn’t like it.
“The Pope is coming as a pastor—to give hope and relief,” he said. “Hopefully, his coming will bring more vigor in evangelization,” he added.
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