A Philippine man was crucified for the 27th time on Friday. He was one of about two dozen who were nailed to crosses during pre-Easter celebrations.
Ruben Enaje is a small time laborer in Pampanga who works chiefly as a carpenter and sign painter. Before volunteering to be crucified, he worked in construction.
It was during one of those days working on a building when Enaje fell, in an incident many feel should have killed him - but he unexpectedly surived. Later, the construction worker became an avid man of faith and claimed that it was the Lord who had saved him.
In an ardent religious celebration that the Catholic Church "looks down on as folk religion," according to the Toronto Sun, Enaje now volunteers to portray the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Every Good Friday since 1985, Enaje has been nailed to the cross. But he is not the only one.
There were about two-dozen volunteers who came forward on Good Friday to be crucified on the cross, according to C-News. Many of the poor people in the area look upon the ritual as an opportunity to seek forgiveness and show piety to their faith. While the Catholic Church does not support the ritual, in the Philippines where the Catholic population is the largest, it is also hard to prevent the people from taking part in it.
"We are in no position to suppress them," Auxiliary Bishop Pablo Virgilio David told Reuters. "I do not think it is right to close our doors to them just because they are more attracted to these folk practices than to our Roman liturgy which they may find too foreign or cerebral."
Enaje defended that tradition and believes that it is God's wish for him to continue the ritual.
"We do this because of our faith not because we're paid," he told told Reuters. "Two years ago, I said it would be the last time I'd do it. But every time I say that, my wife gets sick. I guess God wants me to continue this sacrifice as a lifetime vow."