VATICAN CITY–The Catholic Community of the Diocese of San Carlos through Most Rev. Gerardo A. Alminaza, DD, Bishop of San Carlos, gave an icon of Jesus to Pope Francis during the 2019 Ad Limina visit of the bishops from the Philippines.
“Hesus sa Katubhan”
This is the icon of Jesus, the ‘sugarcane worker’ locally called the ‘sacadas.’ Until today, the sugarcane workers are being paid unjustly of their work in the field, and yet contributing to the economic growth of Negros island (Philippines); without social and health benefits. This icon challenges us to see Jesus in the lives of our brothers and sisters in the peripheries of struggle in the sugarcane fields; often enslaved by poverty in their lifetime. They fought for land and justice—ending up dead from the very hands of our state forces. The accompanying symbols are the following: sugarcane (the major crop in the island of Negros, where the Diocese of San Carlos is situated); espading (cane knife, symbolizes the hard-work and dedication of workers); blooded-bullets (depicting the current militarization in the island and also of the killing of farm workers by the state forces); the Visayan texts “Hesus sa Katubhan” (means Jesus in the Sugarcane Fields); and also the ethnic motifs (symbolizing the Filipino cultural identity).
The artist of this icon is Fray Jaazeal Estelou Jakosalem, OAR.