“Homeless Jesus” has found another home, this time at the Manila Cathedral.
A life-size sculpture of Jesus depicted as a homeless man sleeping on a bench will be placed near the facade of the cathedral on Palm Sunday, April 10.
It will be unveiled and blessed by Cardinal Jose Advincula to also mark the “Alay Kapwa Sunday” when special collections are done for the Church’s charitable programs for the poor.
Crafted by Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz, the piece of work shows Jesus wrapped in a blanket, with crucifixion wounds on his bare feet signaling who he is.
About 11 years ago, Schmalz was in Toronto and saw a homeless man who moved him to do the project.
The cathedral hopes that the statue will “inspire reflections and conversations on how we care for the poor and homeless in the community”.
“May this statue not only become a place for visits or pictures, but a space to deepen our prayer, and to convert and change our hearts,” it said.
Other replicas of the statue are in Buenos Aires, Capernaum, New York, Madrid, Melbourne, Rome and Singapore.
In 2016, the same sculpture was also placed in Sant’Egidio’s courtyard, near the entrance of the Office of Papal Charities in the Vatican.
The sculpture, the cathedral said, challenges what the pope calls the “throwaway” culture that ignores and abuses the poor and the voiceless ones.
“As we look at Jesus who is homeless, may we also see the poor who, according to Pope Francis, ‘pay the price of corruption,’ and also lead us to choose competent and honest leaders in the coming national elections,” it added.