The Feast of the Black Nazarene in the new decade

Yes, as we see that we are now in the new decade. And one major event in January for Filipino Catholics would be the feast day of the Black Nazarene. I am actually a devotee to the Nazareno, and I started going to Quiapo since I was in High School. Since this event attracts millions, as in millions of people, I still observe being spiritual but also vigilant since there would be a lot of people taking advantage of these situations. And with the numbers, always expect that you will be squished within the density of people.

The purpose of the procession (or traslacion meaning to transfer as it re-enacts the scene that it was transferred from its original church to the parish of St. John the baptist) to witness devotees pull the float of the Nazarene as it goes around the Quiapo district. But in rare occasions like this year, the procession would start from Luneta (or Bagumbayan) to Quiapo church. And for more than 400 years it has been a very long traditions that grew up and also transferred from generation to generation.

One sad thing though amidst the spiritual experience as one would come near the statue of the Nazarene are very perilous and fatal risks in even getting close to it. There would be a lot of incidents of being trampled by the crowd, hurting your feet, unable to breathe within the swarm of people, and even falling head on the street. And yet, the parish church officials never fail to remind people to be more careful and be patient to avoid these mishaps. Fatalities would be expected as well as the injured people. It would also a long time before there will be practically zero deaths and injuries. Though its unknown that they did it because of inspiration, or plain too dependent of the miracles that the Nazareno will bring.

However, the spiritual fruits for other people (including me) has been very inspiring and uplifting. You would also hear and read a lot of stories of faith and thanksgiving to the Poon that serves as the living proof of the great influence of the Nazarene to the Filipinos.. Because of its popularity, there are also processions in Cagayan de Oro City and Bataan, however the intensity in Manila is greater.
For this year's feast, It was literally a sea of people even at the wee hours of midnight as devotees still pour to Luneta park. Some made tents or placed mats to sit on or sleep, while some lined for hours just to have a few seconds holding the statue of the Nazarene. Actually me and my mother was one of them and patiently waited as the line moved but as the line is getting longer the possibility of getting to the Poon would be impossible. Then the line just collapse as there were announcement that it needs to be cut off due to the program. As we heard mass led by the Cardinal, the excitement as the procession would start. And it took some hours just to move it very slowly and leaves the perimeter of Rizal Park.

Sad thing though that garbage would be visible as the crowd focuses on the procession and leaves the park, but luckily there were volunteers who cleaned the mess but it would be better that as true devotees we also learn to respect and preserve nature since its also a gift from us. But overall, still amidst all the inconveniences and tiring experience, I still feel that there was a wonderful grace that I felt even I have not walk bare footed nor hold the rope. It was an assurance that faith would take us to new heights and inspire us to challenge ourselves.

Here is my post for the traslacion 2011.

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