MANILA - Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle will wash the feet of the parents of slain overseas Filipino worker Joanna Demafelis, and Fr. Chito Soganob, the priest who was held captive by the Maute terrorist group for almost four months in Marawi City.
The ritual will be part of the traditional Holy Thursday liturgy, which commemorates Christ washing the feet of his disciples as a sign of loving service before his passion, death, and resurrection.
In a statement, the Manila Cathedral said Crisanto and Eva Demafelis, and Fr. Chito Soganub, will be among 12 men and women from "the community of migrants, refugees, and displaced people" chosen to be part of the ritual.
The statement added that the move was also a response to Pope Francis' concern for migrants and refugees whom he calls men and women in search for peace.
Demafelis, a domestic worker, was found dead inside a freezer at an abandoned apartment in Kuwait in February, more than a year since she went missing. Signs of abuse were found in her body.
Her death prompted the government to ban the deployment of Filipino workers to the Gulf state and to initiate a repatriation program.
Meanwhile, Fr. Soganub, vicar general of the Prelature of Marawi, was abducted by Maute terrorists along with other civilians while at the compound of the Cathedral of St. Mary when the Marawi siege erupted on May 23, 2017.
The priest and another civilian escaped in September last year after nearly four months in captivity.
Below is the full list of those whose feet will be washed the cardinal:
- Mr. and Mrs. Crisanto and Eva Demafelis, parents of Joanna Demafelis, the Filipina migrant worker slain in Kuwait.
- Mr. and Mrs. Irfan Masih and Shaziah Irfan, foreigners and both Catholics, who sought refuge in the Philippines because of religious persecution in their homeland.
- 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 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 massive militarization and destruction by logging and mining companies.
- Mr. and Mrs. Giovanni and Yolicres Badidles, both from the Philippine Navy. For a long time, they spent their lives separated because of their assignments, with Giovanni in northern Luzon and Yolicres as part of the Combat Force patrolling the West Palawan seas.
- Father Teresito "Chito" Soganub, a priest from the Prelature of Marawi, who 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.