Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Fabulous Feast of THE BLACK NAZARENE

One of the most fabulous and most visited fiest of devotees in the philippines or even foreigns is the FEAST OF THE BLACK NAZARENE. If happen that you are in manila during January 9 and you are in a hurry to reach such places as Quezon City, Caloocan City and other adjacent cities and town don't dare to pass by Quezon Boulevard, especially the part fronting Quiapo Church. You will surely get caught in a terrible traffic. The reason is, every year on this day, resident of Quiapo are celebrating an all important feast - The Feast of the BLACK NAZARENE.
The BLACK NAZARENE or "NUESTRO PADRE JESUS" was actually sculptured by the Mexican Indians who made it black to make it blend with their color. It was brought to Manila during the middle of the seventeenth century by the Augustinian Recollects via one of the galleon ships then plying the Manila-Acapulco trade route.
The Feast of the Black Nazarene never fails to attract the attention of devotees and onlooker, local or foreign. On the day of the festivity, thousands of devotees from Metro Manila and other parts of the country flock to Quiapo church. They range from pious worshipers who come for pure worship and adoration, to devotees giving thanks for favors gained or healing received, to parishioners who come to ask for favors like getting a job here or abroad.
The main highlight of the celebration is the traditional procession. The processioners carry the Black Nazarene on their backs and then parade it on barefoot along the eight-kilometer stretch of streets in the Quiapo district hat ends shortly before midnight. Because of the mammoth crowd and of the large number of devotees who struggle to have the chance to carry the image on their backs or at least touch ts garb, it is not rare for accidents to occur. But this does not deter devotees from returning the following year, often in greater number.
The Black Nazarene is believed by many to be miraculous. Sailors who manned the galleon that brought the image from Mexico to the Philippines testified that when they had the Black Nazarene with them, their trip was very calm. With the blessed image safely housed in Quiapo Church, stories of more miracles spread even to the provinces.
According to Old Quiapo residents, one time, the blessed image needed some repairs. The parish priest hired a Chinese carpenter to do the job. The carpenter was busy hammering the body of the image when it cried: "Poco, poco, Chino!". The terrified carpenter ran to the parish priest and told him what he heard. He then refused to repair the image any further.
At another time, old Quiapo residents say, a bettle nut vendor sat sadly before her basket of bettle nut The day was almost over and she had not made a sale. Just then, a man came and bought all her bettle nuts. The vendor went inside the Quiapo Church and knelt before the Black Nazarene in thanks-giving. When she looked at the face of the image, she was surprised to see that it resembled the face of the man who bought her bettle nuts. She was even surprised when she saw her basket of bettle nuts beside the feet of the Black Nazarene.
It is also said that during the Japanese time, a Japanese plane was shot high above Quiapo Church. The pilot bailed out on a parachute and was captured. Interviewed later, the pilot aid that many times he tried to bomb the church. But each time he aimed, what he saw was not a church but a mountain filled with forest.
The Black Nazarene is also believed to possess healing powers. Rev. Fr. Vicente Catapang, a certain Captain Sotero Garcia and some others had been witnesses to this. In fact, in the past, the detachable hand of the blessed image was sometimes borrowed and brought to the provinces to heal patients who live too far away or were too sick to come to Quiapo Church. This practice had however already been stopped.
Between the time when the Black Nazarene arrived in our country and our time, many vast and indescribable changes had already happened in our country and in the world. The age of galleons, caromatas and chinese carpenters had long given way to nuclear submarines, 747 jets, space shuttles and future inter-planetary voyagers. Yet when it comes to faith, God will always be Father Almighty and man is His dear, young child. a frail little child whose only strength is in his faith and whose only salvation is in his God. And for as long as this remains the case, the Black Nazarene and its devotees will continue to gather in pious procession the way they had been doing for many centuries.
The Story is based on the Magazine "BARKADA"..

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