MANILA, Philippines – Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle urged devotees to remember victims of typhoons and the Marawi siege as they marked the Feast of the Traslacion of the Black Nazarene on Tuesday, January 9.
“Makiisa po tayo sa kanila. Atin po silang buhatin at ilakbay kasama ng pakikipaglakbay ni Hesus sa atin, pasan pasan din ang ating mga krus,” Tagle said in a Midnight Mass at the Quirino Grandstand.
(Let us be one with them. Let us carry them and bring them along in Jesus’ journey with us, as he carries our crosses.)
“Huwag panghinaan ng loob dahil merong nakikipaglakbay sa atin – si Hesus, kasama natin sa mga Traslacion ng ating buhay,” Tagle said.
(Let us not lose heart because someone is journeying with us – Jesus, who is with us in the Traslacions of our lives.)
Tagle delivered this homily around 5 hours ahead of the annual Traslacion, a nearly 24-hour procession when the 17th-century image of the Black Nazarene is transferred from the Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo Church.
The Midnight Mass was, in a rare instance, attended by the new papal nuncio or Vatican ambassador to the Philippines, Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia.
It was the first time in recent history that a papal nuncio attended a traslacion Nazareno fiesta Mass at the Quirino Grandstand.
Also in the Mass were Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, his son Jinggoy Estrada and daughter Jackie, and Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa.
Just before the start of the Midnight Mass, the Manila Police District Station 5 estimated the crowd at the Quirino Grandstand at 120,000. The Plaza Miranda police station said the crowd at the Quiapo Church was between 1,500 to 1,000.
Up to 8 million devotees join the annual procession of the Black Nazarene, a 17th-century mulatto image of Jesus Christ, which Filipinos believe to be miraculous.
Cloaked in a maroon robe, crowned with thorns and bearing a cross, the Nazarene statue was brought to Manila by Augustinian priests in 1607, decades after the start of Spain’s colonial rule.
It was believed to have acquired its color after being partially burnt when the Galleon ship carrying it caught fire on a voyage from Mexico, another Spanish colony at the time. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com
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