Filipino Students Form World's Largest Human Cross

Under the category of "Interesting Use of a Guinness World Record Attempt as a Method of Evangelization and Protest" approximately 24,000 students and teachers gathered on March 9 at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila to form the world's largest human cross. Check out a slideshow containing more photos of the record-breaking cross, here.











The accomplishment smashed the previous world record, held by 935 Norwegians, who last May formed an admirably sized, yet comparatively quaint, red cross in honor of, well, the Red Cross.







At UST, a Dominican-run school, participants wore black and white t-shirts to form the Dominican cross. Reports state that the intent was "to send a message against a reproductive health bill in the Philippines" and also to "symbolize penance and communal prayer" on Ash Wednesday.

It's not the first time the university has attempted this sort of feat. This past December, approximately 25,000 people gathered on the campus to create the world's largest human Rosary, a production that included spelling out the words "Ave Maria."







Of course, a production such as this requires an extensive amount of planning, as you can see in the diagram, below:














Although some might dismiss these events as simply amusing or inspirational stunts, I think they also serve as a powerful symbol. These efforts as reminders that Catholics are called to serve as visible, tangible examples of Christ's love through our support of justice, community, service and equality in the world and the church. They can also offer a bit of perspective that can help translate these symbols into action: Once you've assembled 24,000 people in the shape of a cross, gathering a couple of friends to serve at a soup kitchen shouldn't be too intimidating.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
7 years 9 months ago
An interestng question about the Philippines is why so many nice and educated people have to leave.  I have met many Filipinos who say that the system is corrupt and no place for anyone with an education to stay.  One appeared at my house a week ago to fix the cable system and we talked about why he was here.  He said there just are no opportunities there for anyone with ambition and talent unless you are connected. 

While in the navy our ship was in the Philippines and was having some work done on it and I happened to talk with one of the welders.  He said he was a medical doctor but made more money working on US ships then he ever could as a doctor.  When I was in Hong Kong about 15 years ago we were in the Cathedral on Sunday and there was a sea of black heads at Mass.  They were all Filipino women working as nanny's or live in maids.

About 11% of the Filipinos live outside the country and they represent one of the most successful immigrant populations in the US.  They used to be very religious.  Our waiter on a cruise last summer was from the Philippines and he said all his family go to Mass together when he gets home.  It was important that they all go as a group.  But I do not know anything else besides that recent personal anecdote.  Here is a Wikipedia article on them 


The latest from america

Psychedelics can blur the line between science and spirituality—but Christian mysticism cannot be studied.
Terrance KleinJanuary 17, 2019
The extensive New York Times series in support of legal abortion unfolds as if the last 46 years of the abortion debate following Roe v. Wade never happened and did not need to.
​Helen AlvaréJanuary 17, 2019
In 1983, Sri Lanka descended into a bitter and prolonged ethnic conflict. Harry Miller, S.J., then almost 60, was thrust into a new role as witness, advocate, intermediary and protector not only for his students but for anyone in Batticaloa who sought his help.
Jeannine GuthrieJanuary 17, 2019
I have found that praying 15 minutes every day is an important form of self-care.
Michael R. Lovell January 16, 2019