The Manila Cathedral announced that it will house the “Homeless Jesus,” an image that will be unveiled on Palm Sunday, to remind people on how to care for the poor.
In a media statement, the Manila Cathedral said Cardinal Jose Advincula of Manila will lead the unveiling and blessing of the artwork on April 10, before the 10 a.m. Mass.
The ceremony will coincide with the celebration of “Alay Kapwa” Sunday when a round of collections during Masses are done for the benefit of the Church’s programs for the poor.
“May this sculpture not only become a place for visits or pictures, but a space to deepen our prayer and to convert and change our hearts,” read the Church statement.
“As we look at Jesus who is homeless in the community, may we also see the poor who, according to Pope Francis, ‘pay the price of corruption,’” it added.
The “Homeless Jesus” is a three-dimensional bronze sculpture that portrays Jesus, “unidentifiable by the wounds on his feet, sleeping on a street bench wrapped in a blanket.”
The artwork will stand near the façade of the Manila Cathedral, also known as the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, to “hopefully inspire reflections and conversations on how we care for the poor and homeless in the community.”
“This sculpture challenges what Pope Francis calls the ‘throwaway culture’ that ignores and abuses the poor and the voiceless ones,” read the statement of the Manila Cathedral.
Pope Francis has repeatedly spoken about the “throwaway culture,” which he described as a “culture of waste” that has infected everyone.
“Human life, the person, is no longer seen as a primary value to be respected and safeguarded, especially if they are poor or disabled,” noted the pope in a 2013 homily.
The Manila Cathedral thanked Canadian artist Timothy P. Schmalz who described his work as “a visual sermon twenty four hours a day.”
Replicas of the sculpture have found their homes in churches, cathedrals, and other urban cities, such as Buenos Aires, Capernaum, New York, Madrid, Melbourne, Rome, Singapore, and the Vatican.
In 2020, the sculpture went viral after someone called the emergency hotline seeking help after seeing a replica of the “Homeless Jesus” outside St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Ohio in the United States.