Friday, January 9, 2015

Millions of barefoot devotees expected to join Black Nazarene procession today

Millions of barefoot devotees expected to join Black Nazarene procession today

A sea of barefoot devotees of the Poong Hesus Nazareno clad in maroon shirts are expected to join the much-anticipated grand Traslacion procession of the Black Nazarene from the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park to the Quiapo Church in Manila today.

It will be the eighth time since 2007 that the grand procession will take off from Quirino Grandstand, where devotees lined up yesterday for the “Pahalik sa Poong Nazareno,” which started as early at 4 a.m. due to the long lines of devotees who had to wait around three hours to get near the Nazareno.

The annual procession of the miraculous sacred image is expected to begin at around 7 a.m. today, right after the 6 a.m. Liturgy for Procession to be led by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle. But devotees flocking to Manila may have to pull those umbrellas out of the closet for sun protection and passing light rains.

Photos by Michael Varcas Photos by Michael Varcas
Dr. Flaviana Hilario, deputy administrator of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said weather condition over Metro Manila will be generally sunny on most parts of the day with chances of passing light rains this morning.

To make the procession more orderly and organized and to keep the devotees focused on the mass and not on the procession, the feast mass led by Msgr. Jose Clemente Ignacio, Quiapo Church rector and parish priest, was held at midnight this year.
During the “Pahalik sa Poong Nazareno,” a priority lane for senior citizens, pregnant women, and persons with disabilities was also set up. Organizers said a replica of the Black Nazarene will be left at the grandstand while the procession is ongoing for devotees who want to kiss the hand of the revered icon.

Now on its 408th year, the theme of this year’s Traslacion procession is “Espiritu ng Poong Hesus Nazareno, Awa at Malasakit ng Abang Simbahan.”

Ignacio once again appealed to pregnant women, those with small children, the elderly, and the disabled not to join the procession for safety reasons or to just stay away from the crowd. He, likewise, encouraged devotees “to prepare spiritually for the event.”

MPD_MMDA diapers_linus09_01082015Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)-Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs, urged devotees to keep the celebration sacred and holy. “I call on all Nazareno devotees to take to heart and live out the true meaning of what it means to be devoted – that is, prayer, sacrifice, penance, self-giving,” said Pabillo.

“With the visit of Pope Francis just nearing, let’s also take the Quiapo fiesta as an opportunity to show to the Holy Father that Filipinos have discipline in terms of their devotion, and know that it brings them closer to God and their neighbors,” Pabillo added. “We can show genuine devotion to the Black Nazarene by prayer, sacrifice, and offering. Today’s celebration also serves as a preview of how we will welcome Pope Francis when he arrives in the country next week,” he said.

As has been the tradition, many will follow the procession barefoot as a sign of respect, humility, or in fulfillment of a “panata” (vow).

While chanting “Viva Senor!” devotees will each try to touch the ropes, believed to have healing and miraculous powers, attached to the gilded carriage of the image of the Black Nazarene. Others will throw white towels to the men surrounding the image and who will in turn throw the towels back to the crowd after wiping them on the image of Christ.

Hourly masses

Hourly masses will be celebrated at the Quiapo Church, from 3 a.m. to 12 noon and from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.  A band parade will be held at 7 a.m. Around the country, at least four to five million devotees will also celebrate the feast in their respective dioceses such as in Naga City and in Cagayan de Oro City.

The life-sized black wooden statue of the Black Nazarene was brought to Manila by a group of Augustinian Recollect friars from Mexico on May 31, 1607. First enshrined at the first Recollect Church in Bagumbayan (now part of Rizal Park), the Black Nazarene was transferred to a bigger Recollect Church in Intramuros, Manila, in 1608.

In 1787, Archbishop of Manila Basilio Sancho de Santas Junta y Rufina ordered the transfer of the image to the Quiapo Church where it has survived great fires that destroyed the church in 1791 and 1929, strong earthquakes in 1645 and 1863, and the bombing of Manila in 1945 during World War II. Today’s celebration commemorates the transfer of the image from the Recollect Church in Intramuros to Quiapo Church in 1787.

The Recollect Fathers worked to spread devotion to the Black Nazarene all over the country. During the 19th century, Pope Pius VII granted indulgence to those who piously prayed before the image of the Black Nazarene.

The Black Nazarene is also brought out for a procession on its feast on Good Friday and on the first day of every year. Last January 1, some 8,000 devotees joined the annual thanksgiving procession through the streets of Quiapo.

Meanwhile, passenger volume at the Light Rail Transit (LRT) line 1 is expected to increase by 7 percent today due to the feast day of the Black Nazarene.

LRT Administrator Honorito Chaneco said LRT 1 ridership historically increases by an average of 7 percent every January 9.

He also announced that barefoot devotees to ride the LRT 1 to reach Carriedo Station, which is the nearest train station to the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila.

Based on recent government data, an average of 520,000 passengers ride the LRT 1 during weekdays. The elevated mass transit system runs from Baclaran in Pasay City to Roosevelt in Quezon City and vice versa. (With reports from Ellayn B. de Vera and Kris Bayos)





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