Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Traslacion and Feast of the Black Nazarene

Wazzup Pilipinas!

"One has to become a devotee to understand a devotee" says Cardinal Tagle.

Indeed, the Traslacion done during the Feast of the Black Nazarene is always has the most touching moments among the Philippines' religious activities.

It is amazing on how every individual of these millions of people has his own story to tell on how the Traslacion and Black Nazarene touched their lives ." Viva Nuestro Padre Nazareno ! "

Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno is really the greatest crowd drawer who gathered millions of devoted followers from all walks of life.

With thunderous applause and the waving of a multitude of white towels, the carriage made its way slowly through the sea of maroon-clad devotees, two ropes pulled religiously by able men while a crowd several million strong gravitates toward the relic as if by a magnet. Such is the yearly story of the 'Traslacion,' a centuries-old tradition commemorating the transfer of the 17th century image of the Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno from Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo District in Manila.

"Why will millions join the Traslacion? People need miracles from the Black Nazarene to absorb the impoverishing effects of Duterte's tax reform. Majority of the devotees are poor because they need miracles from Black Nazarene to spare them from EJKs! Religion is the last defense of the poor against a fascist government. The Black Nazarene is sacred icon that signifies the sigh of the oppressed Filipino poor amidst human rights violations." says an anti-Duterte.

But many would argue the opposite. This is because no matter who our President is, there has been so many impoverished that has been opposing the moves of the current administration.

True enough, there would never be a perfect leader, and praying to the likes of the Black Nazarene would never be proven effective.

The Traslacion phenomenon is a reflection on how hungry and desperate the Filipinos are in trying to connect with God. Let's not be quick in making judgements. Rather, let us do our best to present to them the real Jesus who is good all the time and who doesn't want us to struggle to be blessed! You can make observations but judgement is not required. Grace wins!

People joined the procession commemorating the Traslacion of the Black Nazarene transferring the image from the San Nicolas de Tolentino church inside Intramuros to the Quiapo Church.

In a homily, the priest emphasized that this feast is centered on how Jesus carried our cross for us and we, in turn, are to be co-carriers of the cross of our brethren for His Journey is others-oriented. Thus, ours should also be a journey with him foremost, others second and ourselves last. This we can translate in our lives through our care and compassion to those around us, beyond our selves and our family.

The whole reality of Jesus and religion may be fictional for some who think it was the belief of an uneducated civilization back through those years, but we have to admit that religion of every form has somehow given people hope and something to look forward to. It made them believe that thry would someday inherit a fruitful existence in heaven.

May these be an inspiration to all that being humble is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Thanks be to God.


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. It depicts Jesus en route to his crucifixion. Pope Innocent X granted recognition to the lay Confraternity of Santo Cristo Jesús Nazareno in 1650 for the promotion of the devotion to Jesus through the icon. It was housed in several churches near Manila in the early decades, arriving in Quiapo Church in 1787 where it has been enshrined ever since. The icon is renowned in the Philippines, and is considered by many Filipino Catholics to be miraculous, its mere touch able to cure disease. It attracts homage by numerous devotees and major processions every year.

The image (in recent years a composite replica) is brought out of its shrine for public veneration three times a year: January 9, Good Friday (the Nazarene's "actual" feast, commemorating the culmination of the Passion), and December 31 (New Year's Eve, the first day of the novena). The January 9 procession reenacts the image's Traslación (literally, "transfer") in 1787, or "solemn transfer" to the Minor Basilica from its original shrine inside Intramuros. The January 9 Traslación is the largest procession, drawing millions of devotees thronging to touch the icon, and lasting 20 hours at the most.

The Black Nazarene is venerated by Filipino devotees every Friday, and along with the Santo Niño (Child Jesus) is the most popular object of devotion in the Philippines. A similar image called Cristo Negro is venerated in Portobelo, Panama.

Photography by Edmund Chua

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