Tagle washes feet of OFW Demafelis’ parents, Fr. Soganub

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(Photo: Xianne Arcangel)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 29) — Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle reminded the faithful of Jesus’ selfless love as he washed the feet of 12 people representing migrants, refugees, and displaced people on Maundy Thursday.

Among the individuals whose feet Tagle washed during the Evening Mass of the Last Supper at the Manila Cathedral were Crisanto and Eva Demafelis, the parents of slain overseas Filipino worker Joanna Demafelis.

Tagle also washed the feet of Father Teresito “Chito” Soganub, the priest who was abducted by the terrorist Maute Group in Marawi City last year. He was rescued in September 2017 after spending more than 100 days in captivity.

Tagle kissed the foot of each person after washing it.

Soganub, whose foot was washed last, cried after the Archbishop left.

The ceremony is a Holy Thursday tradition where a priest, playing the role of Christ, washes the feet of members of the congregation, showing that everyone is called to serve in the spirit of humility.

In his homily, Tagle stressed the importance of caring for those who leave their homes – whether by choice or circumstance.

He said Jesus set the example for believers when He washed His disciples’ feet during the Last Supper.

Referring to Jesus’ gesture, Tagle said: “Ito ay isang uri na rin ng paglisan. Umalis siya sa kanyang matayog na katayuan bilang guro at Panginoon. Lumisan para maging abang lingkod.”

[Translation: This was a type of departure from his role as a teacher and Lord. He left to become a humble servant.]

Without naming anyone, Tagle said what Jesus did was not a gimmick but a way of showing his disciples how much He loved them.

Hindi ito pakitang tao. Ang mundo natin sanay na sanay sa ganoon eh. Mukhang umaalis sa matayog na posisyon pero sa bandang huli, kapit tuko. Ayaw lumisan,” he said.

[Translation: This was not for show. The world is used to things like that. Appearing to leave a high position, but desperately staying put in the end. Not wanting to leave.]

Tagle said love entailed sacrifice and an endless offering of one’s self.

Ang pag-ibig, walang katapusang paglisan, pag-alis sa sarili. Ang hindi handa na tumawid, umalis, lisanin ang kanyang sarili, hindi marunong magmahal. Ang pag-ibig, walang katapusang paglisan,” he said.

[Translation: Love is a never-ending goodbye, abandoning one's self. Those who are not prepared to cross over, to leave, to abandon one's self, they do not know how to love. Love is a never-ending goodbye.]

Tagle also urged the faithful to “share the journey” of those who leave their comfort zones by taking time to know them.

Pakinggan ang kanilang kuwento at baka matuklasan nating ‘di sila iba sa atin,” he said.

[Translation: Let us listen to their story and we may learn that we are no different from them.]

The other persons whose feet were washed by Tagle were the Giovanni and Yolicres Badidles, a married couple from the Philippine Navy; Lumad leaders Isidro Indao and Kaylo Bontolan; Danilo, Janet ,and Danica Pelayo, a family who relocated to Laguna from Manila; and Irfan Masih and Shazia Irfan, a Catholic couple who sought refuge in the Philippines due to religious persecution in Pakistan.