The Black Nazarene

Sun.Star Baguio - - Opinion -

THE BLACK Nazarene (Span­ish: El Nazareno Ne­gro, Nue­stro Padre Jesús Nazareno; Filipino: Poóng Itím na Nazareno, He­sus Nazareno) is a life-sized im­age of a dark-skinned, kneel­ing Je­sus Christ car­ry­ing the Cross en­shrined in the Mi­nor Basil­ica of the Black Nazarene in the Quiapo dis­trict of the City of Manila, Philip­pines.

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 re­puted 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 in pro­ces­sion three times a year: Jan­uary 9 (the an­niver­sary of the icon's trans­la­tion), Good Fri­day (the Nazarene's litur­gi­cal feast, com­mem­o­rat­ing the cul­mi­na­tion of the Pas­sion), and De­cem­ber 31 (New Year's Eve, the first day of its an­nual novena). The Jan­uary 9 pro­ces­sion re-en­acts 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. Along with the Santo Niño, (Child Je­sus) it is the most pop­u­lar ob­ject of de- vo­tion in the Philip­pines. A sim­i­lar im­age called Cristo Ne­gro is ven­er­ated in Por­to­belo, Panama.

As we join the mil­lions of devo­tees in this an­nual feast, let us also join hands in prayer: "Beloved Lord Je­sus, Black Nazarene, I come to you to help me. Life is a con­stant strug­gle, and I now feel the pain of my jour­ney. Bless me Je­sus and teach me to lis­ten, to all the events of my life, know­ing that noth­ing hap­pens by chance. Ev­ery­thing that hap­pens has a rea­son. When I feel the pain of sick­ness, teach me to cope with lov­ing sur­ren­der and to be­lieve in the power of heal­ing. When I ex­pe­ri­ence emo­tional, fi­nan­cial and psy­cho­log­i­cal bro­ken­ness, help me to rise up with be­lief that with God, noth­ing is im­pos­si­ble. I come to you to­day, to pray for heal­ing to lis­ten to my pe­ti­tion/s. I pray to you and my Mother Mary to an­swer my pray­ers. Amen. Black Nazarene I put my trust in you!"

“If some­one is tempted, let us not judge him as if we are sin­less. We tend to sep­a­rate our­selves in­stead of re­mem­ber­ing that we too are tempted. If he is tempted to sin, we should unite and help one an­other to fight temp­ta­tion ... This is a love that says, we are to­gether, we are no dif­fer­ent from each other… This is a love that is ready to em­brace even the sin­ners and those who are weak, in­stead of tram­pling on them and sep­a­rat­ing our­selves from them.” ~ Manila Arch­bishop Luis An­to­nio Car­di­nal Ta­gle

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