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Giant Jesus brings Manila workers to church

Image of Epiphany attracts thousands back to the fold

Giant Jesus brings Manila workers to church
Fireworks light the sky during the inauguration of the 40-foot image of the Epiphany of Jesus in Camarin
Joe Torres, Caloocan City

January 11, 2011

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A giant image of the Epiphany of the Lord Jesus is attracting thousands of people back to Church in the Philippine capital’s biggest working class community. "We want to explain to people what Epiphany means," said Father Aristeo de Leon, parish priest of the Epiphany of Our Lord Parish in the northern Manila village of Camarin in the city of Caloocan. He said people have become curious about the 40-foot image of Jesus with outstretched arms in front of the parish church. "We now have the opportunity to explain to them what epiphany is all about," Father De Leon told "We told them how God showed himself to people through his son Jesus who became our savior," the priest said. Scenes from the story of the creation are painted on the image. "We want people to know that God is the God of Creation and we know him through his creation," Father De Leon said after the inauguration of the image last Saturday. Novaliches Bishop Antonio Tobias led the blessing of what the people call as dambana or altar. "The role of the Church is to remind the people about the importance of God in our midst," the bishop said. He said the "real challenge" for the Church in the Philippines is "how to move forward toward peace" and "how to go forward toward promoting Christian values." Father De Leon said he has to be more proactive in promoting faith in his parish. He said most of his parishioners are people from the provinces who came to the city and lived with poor relatives. "This is a community of people from various provinces who work in factories and malls, but many of them are also jobless," Father De Leon said. "We also make people realize their dignity despite their situation." Related reports Filipinos told to take on society’s ills in 2011 Urban poor follow in Holy Family’s footsteps PL12794.1636
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