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MANILA, Philippines – Devotion to the Black Nazarene is growing nationwide. On Monday, up to eight million devotees are expected to join the procession of the image of the mulatto Jesus Christ, according to Quiapo Church Msgr Clemente Ignacio.
“The Filipinos see themselves in the image of the suffering and struggling Black Nazarene,” Ignacio said.
“The Black Nazarene is a snapshot of Jesus rising again after the fall. We will see there the resilience of the Filipinos. They never lose hope,” Ignacio added.
The Black Nazarene was originally a statue with fair complexion. But the ship that carried it from Mexico to Manila caught fire. It barely survived the fire, thus its charcoal color.
The Black Nazarene also survived at least two fire incidents inside the Quiapo Church in 1791 and 1929, the earthquakes of 1645 and 1863, and the 1945 bombing of Manila during World War II.
Devotion to it is also growing in other parts of the country, said Ignacio. He said up to six million devotees will celebrate the Feast of the Black Nazarene in Visayas and Mindanao.
The Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, the Diocese of Iligan, and the Diocese of Ipil have replicas of the life-size images of the Black Nazarene.
The annual procession commemorates the transfer of the Black Nazarene on Jan 9, 1787 from a Recollect church in Intramuros to St. John the Baptist Church in Quiapo Manila.
Believed to be miraculous, millions of devotees religiously join the yearly procession from Luneta to Quiapo Church. Placed on a shoulder-borne carriage, the image is carried by marshals.
Last year, the procession took 14 hours to travel the short distance. Police crowd estimates varied from 1.5 million to 7.5 million. Reuters Television estimated the crowd at two million.
Authorities said 1,000 cops will be deployed on Monday to ensure security.
Adopting the theme, “Espiritu ng Ama at ng Poong Nazareno, Sambayanang Pilipino Ibangon mo,” the celebration begins on Sunday, January 8, with an overnight vigil, healing mass and catechesis at the Luneta’s Quirino grandstand.
Before the procession on Monday, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio “Chito” Tagle will lead the Eucharistic celebration at 6 am. – Rappler.com
|For more of Rappler’s coverage of the Feast of Black Nazarene, click on the links below::