Thursday, January 8, 2009

Black Nazarene

Tomorrow, the Filipino Catholics will celebrate the feast of the Black Nazarene. It's feast is considered as one of the spectacular event of the faithful in the Philippines. It was estimated that about 2.4 million devotees flocked the 2008 procession of the Black Nazarene.

Because of its nationwide publicity, some non Christians and non Catholic Christians have wrong notion that catholics worship the image. Catholics do not worship the image but what the image represent which is Jesus Christ who gave His life for the salvation of mankind. Priests and bishop constantly remind this important note. As Filipino and as Asians, there is an urge to feel through the senses our faith. It is not something as abstract and without form. We would like to reach the Divine through something sensible. This is also the very reason that God has incarnated in our midst 2009 years ago in the person of Jesus. And constantly made himself present in the Holy Eucharist in the form of bread and wine which becomes His Body and Blood.

The image was venerated for more than 400 years. Yes, it is the black Nazarene, not the white one, an image of Jesus in kneeling position maybe right after his fall as he carried the cross to Golgota. It has appealed more to the eyes of Filipino because it relates with the color of the native as a form of God's love also for the so called non-white, the image of God's universal love. Monsignor Jose Clemente F. Ignacio, parish priest of Quiapo Church once explained that the color of the Nazarene was an accidental due to the paint use by the painter on the commission of the said image. 

Like the Simbang Gabi, the Feast of the Black Nazarene is of Filipino origin.One of the peculiarities of the Filipino faith.

This year, major changes was made due to some accidents during the previous procession. Last Year, two dead and seven were wounded during the said procession.To avoid this kind of incident, the Quiapo Church decided to start the procession in Quirino grandstand. At 5:00 pm today (Thursday), there will be a healing mass and be followed by the traditional “Pahalik sa mahal na Poong Nazareno [A Kiss for the Black Nazarene]” and the vigil.

A concelebrated mass at 7:00 a.m. the following day, January 9 (Friday), will be officiated by Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales, after which the procession of the image of the Black Nazarene will start from Luneta to Quiapo Church at 8:30 a.m., Ignacio said in a statement Friday.

The planned route will be from be from the Quirino Grandstand, passing through Burgos St., McArthur Bridge, Rizal Avenue, Claro M. Recto, Legarda, Arlegui St., Quezon Boulevard, Palanca St., Villalobos, Plaza Miranda, and then Quiapo Church, where the procession is expected to end at 3:00 p.m.

This is also an advisory for those who will take these routes tomorrow, If you can avoid these routes tomorrow if your destination does not necessarily be on the said designated areas please take other route.

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