MANILA, Philippines—Kapampangan sculptor Willy Layug will present Pope Francis with an image of the child Jesus as his family’s gift during the Pontiff’s apostolic visit to the Philippines next month.
Layug, who comes from an artistic family of sculptors and woodcarvers in Betis in Guagua, Pampanga, said he chose to give the Pope an image of the Child Jesus since the papal visit coincides with the feast of the Sto. Niño in January.
The image, which measures two feet and made of cedar wood, depicts the Child Jesus carrying a lamb.
Layug said his family, particularly his grandchildren, will have the privilege of handing over the image to the Pope during the concluding Mass in Luneta on Jan. 18, 2015.
Apart from the Sto. Niño image, Layug said organizers of the papal visit commissioned him to make another sculpture—a miniature version of the Immaculate Conception—as a gift to the Pope.
The 18-inch image of the Immaculate Conception is shown wearing a Filipiniana dress to highlight the local culture, Layug said.
He said the yakal wood used to make the image of Mary was part of the beam of the Palo Cathedral which fell during the height of Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”
“The wood used to make this image is a debris, it’s a remembrance of the tragedy,” he said, adding that wood is already 400 years old.
Layug has also been designated to create other sculptures of religious images for the papal visit.
One of these sculptures include a Marian image holding Child Jesus, who is depicted as extending his hand toward a drowning child.
“The image represents the tragedy that happened in Leyte and how divine help and faith saved the people from the tragedy,” Layug said.
Layug was also asked to make the processional cross and central crucifix for the papal mass at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park.
The crucifix features a five feet and nine inches tall image of Christ nailed on the cross.
Layug will also create crucifixes for the altar table during the Eucharistic celebrations in Luneta and Manila Cathedral by the Pope.
The Pope will embark on an apostolic visit to the Philippines from Jan. 15 to 19, 2015.
Layug said he has been so blessed to have been chosen for the task.
“I hope the people will appreciate the message [behind the images] and not just the artworks.”