By Leslie Ann G. Aquino and Christina I. Hermoso
As crowds of devotees pour onto the streets of Manila for today’s procession of replicas of the revered image of the Black Nazarene, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said that his hope is for people to come to know Jesus more deeply during this season of devotion and sacrifice.
“May our participation in the different activities during the feast lead us in deeply knowing Jesus,” he told chuch-run Radyo Veritas.
His Eminence urged the faithful to spiritually prepare for the religious activity known as the “traslacion,” the grand procession that will take “Poong Nazareno” from Quirino Grandstand back to Quiapo Church on Tuesday.
The “traslacion” commemorates the transfer of the image of the Black Nazarene from Bagumbayan (old Intramuros) to Quiapo Church.
“Let us prepare for His feast. Let us set our eyes on Jesus daily. He is the way to the Father. He is the truth that we seek. He is the one who can give us and the society life,” said Tagle.
And with the expected big number of people that will participate in the religious activity, the cardinal asked everyone to pray for a safe, peaceful and clean feast.
“Let us pray that the feast will be safe. Let us also pray that it will be peaceful and clean,” Tagle said.
The Feast of the Black Nazarene particularly the “traslacion” or procession every January 9, usually draws millions of devotees from all over the country who walk with the image in procession barefooted as a sign of penance and thanksgiving for favors received.
Meanwhile, a procession of all replicas of the Black Nazarene from various parts of the country will be held Sunday, January 7 at Quiapo Church.
Expected to take part in the annual procession of replicas of the Black Nazarene at 1:30 p.m. today are thousands of devotees converging at the Quiapo Church (Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene or St. John the Baptist Parish) since December 31.
This afternoon’s procession of the replicas of the Nazareno “will showcase not only centuries-old personal collections of sacred images that have been cared for and passed on from generations of devotees but the Filipinos’ unwavering faith, trust, and devotion to the Black Nazarene,” organizers said.
The procession will start at Plaza Miranda, left to Quezon Blvd. St, right to Claro M. Recto St., right to Loyola St., right to Bilibid Viejo St. thru Puyat St., left to Z. P De Guzman St., right to Hidalgo St., left to Barbosa St.(Bautista), right Globo de Oro St., right to Palanca St., right to Villalobos St. Thru Plaza Miranda back to Quiapo Church.
Father Douglas Badong, parochial vicar of the Quiapo Church said, they are hoping for devotees “to have a more spiritual journey this year that will help strengthen and deepen their faith in the Black Nazarene.”
A former rector of Quiapo Church said January 9 is not the liturgical Feast of the Black Nazarene.
Monsignor Jose Clemente Ignacio explained that the actual liturgical feast of the Black Nazarene is Good Friday. “The liturgical feast of the Black Nazarene is Good Friday because that is the time that He carries the cross,” he told The Manila Bulletin.
Ignacio said what is being commemorated every January 9 is the “traslacion” or the transfer of the Black Nazarene image from Bagumbayan (old Intramuros) to Quiapo Church.
“But that’s also a feast because the traslacion is a thanksgiving… thanksgiving for the arrival of the image to Quiapo,” he said.
According to Ignacio, the image being brought out for the traslacion is the one being venerated by the faithful at the side of the Quiapo church for the “pahalik” which has the original body of the centuries old image.
He said the original head is on the image at the altar of the church.
Asked what image is being brought out of Quiapo for the other processions such as the thanksgiving procession at the end of the year, replica procession every January 7 and Good Friday procession, Ignacio said this is the pilgrim image of the Nazareno located in front of the church and at the St. Benedict Building.
“We call that callejero because that pilgrim image is also being brought to different parishes, dioceses,” said Ignacio, who is currently the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Manila.
The Black Nazarene is a life-sized, dark-colored, wooden sculpture of Jesus Christ that was brought to Manila by Augustinian priests in 1607. It has been known to be miraculous by its Filipino devotees and is being attended by millions of devotees, making it as one of the country’s biggest annual religious procession.
The image of black Nazarene is currently enshrined in the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene popularly known as Quiapo Church.
Tomorrow, January 8, devotees will gather at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta, where the Black Nazarene will be brought for an overnight vigil and a series of activities that starts at 5 p.m. before the early morning mass and grand procession that will bring the image back to the Quiapo Church on Tuesday.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said plastic barriers and fences will be installed at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila to help bring order during queuing of devotees.
The agency is also in-charge of setting up barriers for the traditional Pahalik. Three separate lanes would be readied: For males, females and senior citizens, pregnant, and persons with disabilities.
Road closures, re-routing
The Manila Police District Traffic Enforcement Unit (MPDTEU) advised the motorists to expect heavy traffic and take alternate routes during the annual procession of the Black Nazarene.
Starting at 11 a.m. today, the southbound lane of Quezon Boulevard from A. Mendoza to Plaza Miranda; eastbound lane of Recto Avenue from Rizal Avenue to SH Loyola Street; and the westbound lane of España Boulevard from P. Campa to Lerma Street will be closed to motorists.
Vehicles coming from Espana Boulevad going to Roxas Boulevard, South Pier Zone, or Taft Avenue shall turn right to P. Campa, straight to Fugoso Street to point of destination.
Those coming from A. Mendoza Street intending to utilize Quezon Boulevard shall turn right to Fugoso Street, left to Rizal Avenue, to point of destination.
Vehicles using the eastbound lane of CM Recto coming from Divisoria shall turn right to Rizal Avenue to point of destination.
All vehicles utilizing S.H. Loyola Street coming from Balic-Balic area going to Quiapo shall turn right to CM Recto Avenue to point of destination. (With reports from Analou de Vera, Jaimie Rose R. Aberia, and Anna Liza Villas-Alavaren)
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