Papal chair, altar table to have 'Filipino touch'
MANILA, Philippines – Five days won't be enough for Pope Francis to see all that the Philippines' 7,107 islands have to offer – so on his first visit to the Southeast Asian country on January 15, organizers of his papal visit will bring the elements of the Philippines to him.
The altar table, chair, and linen cloth that the Pope will be using for his Masses will bear images such as the Philippines' national leaf anahaw to give them a Filipino touch, according to Fr Alex Bautista of the Diocese of Tarlac in a press briefing on Monday, January 5.
Bautista, who designed the papal chair to be used by Francis, said the designs are intended to reflect the Filipino character.
He added that these are also fitting for the pro-poor Pope known for preferring simplicity over lavish Church decorations.
"The concept is to serve the liturgical purpose, to have a Filipino character, and to reflect the simplicity of the vicar of Christ," Bautista said.
The altar will be designed to take the shape of hands lifted up in prayer, to symbolize the giving of gifts and offerings.
Its base will have diagonal lines to be covered by a motif of anahaw leaves – the Philippines' national leaf – to "symbolize the strength of Filipinos."
Instead of flowers, the landscaping will feature the San Francisco plant. Bautista explained that the plant is common in the country, and that its need for sunlight symbolizes the people's need for Jesus Christ, the "light of the world."
Meanwhile, the linen cloth will be made of piña cloth from Laguna.
More Filipino symbols like guava trees will also decorate the chair to be used by the Pope, Bautista said.
"If we can't bring the Pope around the Philippines, we will bring elements of the Philippines to the Pope," he added.
Pope Francis will be in the Philippines from January 15 to 19. He will spend 4 days in the capital Manila, meeting with priests, the religious, the youth, and families.
He will also spend one day in the province of Leyte, to pray before the mass grave of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) victims and to meet with survivors of the typhoon and the 2013 Bohol earthquake. – Rappler.com