Black Nazarene feast: Devotees hijack Mass
MANILA, Philippines – Every January, millions of devotees go to Quiapo in Manila for the Feast Day of the Black Nazarene. The religious event draws barefoot followers in a procession honoring an ebony statue of Jesus Christ.
This year’s event takes a different turn. Eager devotees disrupt the Mass as they ram through security to get to the image.
Paterno Esmaquel reports.
The same scene year after year - until, devotees hijack the Mass for the feast of the Black Nazarene. Before the it ends, a group goes up the stage to take the miraculous image.
This is the first time devotees did this.
The parish priest of Quiapo Church says the devotees are more intense this year.
MSGR CLEMENTE IGNACIO, PARISH PRIEST, QUIAPO CHURCH: Ang suspetsa ko lang – I'm not the expert – eh grabe na ang kahirapan ng ating bayan, at saka 'yung pinagdaanan nating mga kalamidad. (My suspicion– I'm not the expert – is that poverty in our country has worsened, compounded by the recent calamities.)
Quiapo Church officials estimate, 12 million people pack the streets of Manila for the feast of the Black Nazarene.
Men and women, young and old try to climb the carriage that bears the centuries-old image. Devotees risk life and limb. This year, health workers report more than 1,000 emergencies.
Filipinos view the Black Nazarene as a symbol of their suffering.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle reminds the faithful to go beyond their personal needs. He tells them to pray for disaster victims, including those affected by super typhoon Yolanda.
LUIS ANTONIO CARDINAL TAGLE, MANILA ARCHBISHOP: Ang nakakaalala sa Diyos, makakaalala sa kapwa. (Those who remember God remember their neighbor.)
He also says Catholics should denounce corruption.
Every year, the feast of the Black Nazarene shows millions that long to touch a savior. Now the question is, if this devotion makes us a better neighbor.
Paterno Esmaquel, Rappler, Manila. - Rappler.com