Friday, January 8, 2010

Quiapo Black Nazarene Feast

Tomorrow, Saturday, January 9, is the feast of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo. Large throngs of devotees are expected to attend the procession.


The Black Nazarene is a life-sized, dark-colored , wooden sculpture of Jesus Christ held to be miraculous by many people, especially its Filipino devotees. Its original carver is an anonymous Mexican carpenter, and the image was transported by galleon from Mexico. The image is currently enshrined in the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila, Philippines where novena celebrations are held every Friday throughout the whole year. Roman Catholic tradition holds that the Black Nazarene came from a boat that caught fire, turning it from its original white into black or charred complexion. The Black Nazarene is carried into the streets for procession in a "Caroza" or carriage.

The feast of the Most Holy Black Nazarene is celebrated every 9th of January while novena masses begin on the first Friday day of the year, in honor of its weekly novena mass held every Friday. During the annual public procession, only the body of the Black Nazarene is displayed in procession to the public, while the original head portion of the statue is retained in the Basilica of the Black Nazarene within the high altars of the church. The Black Nazarene is also famously noted for its devotees who walk the procession streets barefoot, without shoes or sandals as to imitate Jesus Christ on his way to Mount Calvary.

The image was brought to the Philippines by the Augustinian Recollect Missionaries in May 31, 1606. It was initially enshrined in the first Recollect church in Bagumbayan (now part of Rizal Park). In September 10, 1606, the church was inaugurated and placed under the patronage of St. John the Baptist. In 1608, the Nazarene image was transferred to the second bigger Recollect church of San Nicolas de Tolentino built inside the fortress of Intramuros. Between the years 1767 and 1790, the Archbishop of Manila, Basilio Sancho de Santas Justa y Rufina, ordered the transfer of the image of the Nazareno to the church in Quiapo under the patronage of St. John the Baptist. The intensity of the devotion to the Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno flourished and spread throughout the Philippines.

Today, the head portion of the Black Nazarene is retained in the high altars of the Quiapo church while the body is used for public procession. In the 2007 Black Nazarene feast, both the original head and the body were combined together in celebration of the Black Nazarene's 400 year old history.

The veneration of the Black Nazarene is very popular among Filipinos because of their religious piety and devotion to the sufferings of Jesus Christ. Many devotees of the Black Nazarene attribute their poverty and struggles in the daily society to the wounds and tribulations of Jesus Christ, as represented by the Black Nazarene. Although the patron saint of the Minor Basilica of Black Nazarene is originally Saint John the Baptist, the consecration of the Black Nazarene has gained more popular because Jesus Christ is the center of piety and devotion, which may or may not be interceded through a saint.
[edit] National Hymn

Below is the National Hymn composed by Lucio San Pedro, which is used by the Quiapo church as the main hymn to the Black Nazarene.

Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno

Lyrics: Lucio San Pedro


Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno, (Our Father Jesus Nazarene)
Sinasamba ka namin (We worship you)
Pinipintuho ka namin (we admire you)"
Aral mo ang aming buhay (Your lessons are our life)
at Kaligtasan (and our salvation)


Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno (Our Father Jesus Nazarene)
Iligtas mo kami sa Kasalanan (Please save us from our sins)
Ang Krus mong Kinamatayan ay (Your cross from which you died on)
Sagisag ng aming Kaligtasan (is the sign of our Salvation)


Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno (Our Father Jesus Nazarene)
Dinarangal ka namin (We honor you)
Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno (Our Father Jesus Nazarene)
Nilul'walhati ka namin (We glorify you)
Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno (Our Father Jesus Nazarene)
Dinarangal ka namin (We honor you)
Tomorrow is the feast of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo. Expect a large throng of devotees during the procession.

The uniquely Filipino devotion to the Black Nazarene merited the sanction and encouragement of two popes. In 1650, Pope Innocent X gave his pontifical blessing with a Papal Bull that canonically established the Confraternity of the Most Holy Black Christ Nazarene (Cofradia de Santo Cristo Jesús Nazareno) and Pope Pius VII gave his second blessing in the 19th century, by granting plenary indulgence to those who piously pray before the image of the Black Nazarene of Quiapo.

In addition to this, devotees pay homage to the Santo Cristo Jesus Nazareno by clapping their hands in praise at the end of every Mass

Despite the rough-and-tumble that usually accompanies the thrice-yearly procession of the image, the Filipino people's devotion to God in the special appellation of Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno continues to flourish and shows no sign of waning; death, wounds, bodily pains and physical discomfort notwithstanding.

For more than 200 years, the statue has been placed on a golden red carriage every January 9th and pulled through the streets of Quiapo by male devotees clad in maroon. People who have touched the Nazarene are reported to have sometimes been healed of their diseases. Catholics come from all over Manila for the chance that they will be able to get close enough to touch the image and perhaps even receive a miracle. They also throw towels or handkerchiefs to the people guarding the statue and ask them to rub them on the statue in hopes of carrying some of that power away with them.

2008 Celebration of the Black Nazareno Procession

On January 9, 2008, the number of devotees who joined the procession swelled to 80,000 in Quiapo, Manila. One-and-a-half to three million people can be accommodated around Plaza Miranda and Quezon Boulevard. Two people died and around 50 injured devotees were rushed to 2 hospitals and a makeshift clinic of the Philippine National Red Cross for first aid treatment, as the procession proceeded. Vice President Noli de Castro, a known devotee of the statue, also joined the big procession. MPD District Director Senior Supt. Roberto Rosales stated that the crowd swelled to 2.2 to 2.6 million "when others, including local residents, joined the procession along the 4.7-km route.” The procession ended at 9:45 p.m. In 2006, 2 devotees also died and 20 others only were injured during the procession.

On the 402nd year celebration of the Black Nazarene, the Minor Basilica of Quiapo decided to change the route of the procession of the Black Nazarene. Instead of beginning the procession at 3 pm from the Quiapo Church, the procession was scheduled to begin from the Quirino Grandstand near Dr. Jose Rizal's national hero monument in Luneta at 8:30AM, therefore going through wider roads and streets towards the Quiapo Church. The Quiapo Church Rectory has decided to change routes to prevent injuries and deaths that has happened in the previous years due to the large crowds and stampede during the procession. A healing mass is also celebrated preceding the 8:30 am procession, officiated by his eminence, the Roman Catholic Manila Archbishop, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales. Philippines' Vice-President Noli De Castro, a known devotee of the Black Nazarene was present in the Eucharistic mass and procession as well with City of Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim.

However, on the day of the procession of the Black Nazarene, upon reaching almost the end of the new route, the older route was still followed due to many devotees who has decided to pull the ropes of the carriage towards the original route which encircles the Quiapo church. The new route was followed only up till Arlegui street, after which many of the Quiapo devotees took charge of the carriage and pulled the carriage ropes towards the original route of the procession. Many of these devotees has recently complained to the police officials because they believe that the Black Nazarene's passing towards their area results in their numerous blessings and good luck, many of whom are financiers and patrons of the Quiapo church.

The Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo has also decided to move the replica statue of the Black Nazarene to San Agustin's Cathedral in Cagayan De Oro, in the Mindanao island, so that Nazarene devotees from Mindanao may not have to travel to Quiapo, Manila for their annual pilgrimage.