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An inmate’s gift to the Pope

Published Jan. 14, 9:26 a.m. PHT

Last updated Jan. 18, 6:47 p.m. PHT

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#PapalVisitPH — A Filipino inmate has prepared a gift for the head of the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Francis is set to visit the Philippines from January 15 to 19. Jeric Pena has the details.


Emotions are high here in Manila just days before the head of the Roman Catholic Church visits the Philippines, an Asian country dominated by Catholics.

While not everyone here can get a glimpse of the Pope, an inmate at the Philippine national penitentiary has this to offer — a portrait of Pope Francis made by wood burning or pyrography.

The artwork was made by Ariel Cabiluna — an inmate held at the maximum security compound of the New Bilibid Prison. The portrait was presented to the media on Monday in a press briefing led by Church officials ahead of the papal visit.

Fr. Anton Pascual said that the portrait was “created out of the goodness of the inmate’s heart.” The inmate based the piece of the art on just a photocopy of the Pope’s portrait. Fr. Pascual added that it took the inmate two weeks to complete the work.

Pope Francis is known to have a heart for those detained in prisons. In 2013, he washed the feet of 12 young detainees in a traditional Holy Week ceremony. And he was also quoted in 2014 as saying: “No cell is so isolated that it can keep the Lord out.” The pope also corresponds with prisoners through letters.

The portrait made by a Filipino inmate will be one of the gifts to be presented to Pope Francis during his four-day state and apostolic visit to the Philippines from January 15th to 19th.

Reporting from Manila, the Philippines, I am Jeric Pena.