Manila Bishop Pabillo performs ‘washing of feet’

MANILA Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, pushed through with the traditional “washing of the feet” on Holy Thursday even after the Vatican’s Congregation of Divine Worship disallowed it to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

But instead of the customary 12 people, Pabillo only washed the feet of four individuals with backgrounds relevant to this year’s celebration of the 5th centenary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines.

Fr. Reginald Malicdem, rector of Manila Cathedral, identified the four as Fr. Geoffrey Eborda Jr., Ruzzel Ramos, Romain Garry Lazaro and Sr. Venus Marie Pegar.

Fr. Eborda is an Augustinian friar representing the first religious congregation to bring the Gospel to the country, and also the many other missionaries throughout history who offered their whole lives in the service of evangelization.

Ramos is a full-time catechist of the Catechetical Foundation of the Archdiocese of Manila, currently serving in St. John Bosco Parish, Tondo. She represents teachers, parents, grandparents, who strive their best to pass on the faith to the next generation.

Lazaro is a social media staff of the Manila Cathedral, representing the young people who have now become online missionaries, bringing their creativity and passion for the faith in the world of media and communications.

Sr. Pegar is a consecrated member of the Sisters of St. Francis Xavier, a religious congregation established by Bishop Alexandre Cardot of Rangoon in Myanmar.

According to Malicdem, Pabillo washed the feet of Sr. Pegar to express closeness and solidarity with the people of Myanmar in their struggle for democracy and peace.

The washing of the feet is part of the Liturgy of the evening mass of the Lord’s Last Supper before he was crucified to death.

The Holy Thursday washing of the feet symbolizes the Lord’s action on the night before he died in a display of humility and love.

Meanwhile, Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), on Thursday reminded the faithful that fasting and abstinence are obligatory on Good Friday for certain age brackets.

“For fasting, those who are 18 years old till 60 are bound by this practice. Those who are infirmed and above 60 years old are not under this obligation,” he said, adding that senior citizens can substitute this obligation with corporal works of mercy or acts of piety as per local norm.

Fasting means eating one full meal a day with small snacks on the side.

Abstinence binds those who are 14 years old and above. It prohibits eating of both red meat and white meat, like chicken.