IN PHOTOS: Washing of Feet rites with street dwellers, EJK orphans
MANILA, Philippines – Around a hundred individuals from different urban poor communities around Metro Manila attended Mass and the traditional Washing of the Feet at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani on Maundy Thursday, March 29.
Father Flavie Villanueva, a former drug user who became a priest, presided over the Mass for the urban poor, street dwellers, and orphans of victims of extrajudicial killings (EJKs).
"Tungkol sa pananampalataya ng pakikiisa sa Huwebes Santo na kung saan tayo ay sumasaksi sa Paghuhugas ng Paa sa Huling Hapunan ni Kristo, at dahil dito ay minarapat natin na makaroon ng kakaibang nagdiriwang kasama natin. Merong tatlong sektor dito na mula sa urban poor, mga street dwellers, at ang bagong sektor na kinabibilangan ng mga balo, orphans ng mga biktima ng Tokhang o EJKs," Villanueva said.
(Regarding our faith in participating in Holy Thursday, where we witness the Washing of the Feet at the Last Supper of Christ, we decided to have a different ceremony with the participants joining us. There are 3 sectors here, from the the urban poor, to the street dwellers, to a new sector composed of the orphans of victims of Tokhang or extrajudicial killings.)
"Sa kanilang pakikiisa dito, pinadama natin na kaming mga pari ang dapat naghuhugas ng paa nilang mga sugatan, mga nasa laylayan, at kakaiba din ang ginawa natin dahil sila ay inanyayahan din na maghuhugas ng paa ng iba," he added.
(With their participation here, we want them to feel that we priests should be washing the feet of those who are wounded, of those in the peripheries. We did things differently as well, because we also invited them to wash the feet of others.)
Villanueva ended the Mass with a message, saying, "Sa gitna ng mga sunud-sunod na kaguluhan na isinasagawa ng mga tao sa gobyerno, mayroon din tayong buhay na pinagsasaluhan. Ito ang ating kinakapitan para patuloy tayong makilahok, makiisa sa ating adhikaing makamtan ang kapayapaan, katarungan, paghilom, at pagkakaisa."
(In the middle of continued turmoil brought about by people in government, we still have lives to celebrate. This is what we cling to so we can continue to participate and come together in the shared ideal of having peace, justice, healing and unity.)
In an interview, Villanueva criticized President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-drug campaign, saying it has brought chaos, war and disunity, and has created a problem that made people so wounded, the nation so divided.