Manila (Agenzia Fides) - About two million Filipinos have flocked since the early hours of today, January 9, the streets of Manila, occupying the district of Quiapo, to venerate an image of Jesus Christ carrying the cross, popularly known as the "black Nazarene". The celebration of the black Nazarene, prepared with a prayer novena, culminates in a procession called "traslacion" (translation) that lasts the whole day of January 9th. The procession recalls the transfer of the image of the black Nazarene which in 1787 was transferred from an Augustinian church, located in the old fortified city of Manila, to the basilica in the Quiapo district of the city.
"This event is an expression of the great faith of the people towards Christ Jesus. The demonstration of popular piety of the faithful is incredible: many walk barefoot to identify themselves in the suffering, others help to pull the cart that carries the statue, there are those who try to climb to touch the face of the Nazarene and to seek a personal grace", says to Fides Eduardo Torres Mejorada, a lay person present at the procession.
The Archbishop of Manila, Card Luis Antonio Tagle, appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples celebrated the dawn mass for the crowd of faithful gathered in Rizal Park, inviting those present to "follow the mission of Christ: pure love is our mission. This is what we can give to others".
After mass, the dark-skinned image of the suffering Christ, invoked for his miraculous powers, moved from Rizal Park in Manila to the Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, with a procession followed by hundreds of thousands of people.
The Black Nazarene was carved by an unknown Mexican from a dark wood in the 16th century in Mexico and then transported to the Philippines in 1606. Initially placed in the church of San Giovanni Battista, the Black Nazarene was transferred to the church of Quiapo in 1787. The statue survived numerous disasters, such as the great fires that destroyed the church of Quiapo in 1791 and 1929 and the earthquakes in 1645 and 1863. (SD) (Agenzia Fides, 9/1/2020)