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.