THE MAMMOTH BLACK NAZARENE PROCESSION

eastwind journals, July 20, 2021

By Bernie V. Lopez, eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com

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Lord, we offer to you, our Messiah, the Filipino people and the Filipino nation.

In spite of reports of terrorist bomb threats, the 2019 Black Nazarene procession was the most dramatic and the most massive in history. Previously, one or two brave women joined the violent mob, not minding the physical closeness with men, and not fearing that they would be crushed. In 2019, for the first in history, they came in groups who dared to stick together and assert themselves. (See dramatic photos at the end.)

The longest procession was in 2012, 22 hours from dawn to dawn, 9 hours longer than the usual. All four wheels of the carroza (carriage) broke down one by one. Like an omen, the 2012 procession stopped for a long time right at the heart of the Quiapo Muslim enclave, reminding us of the bond between Muslims and Christians, recalling the tragedy in Marawi. People slept on the pavement, waiting for the Image to pass their street. When the city government wanted to make a short cut due to the delay, residents came out in droves to protest. Security forces suppressed cellphone signal to and from the Quiapo area.

In 2020, about 1,000 people were injured at more than half way to Quiapo church. People who fainted were floated on top of the dense violent crowd towards safety. Devotees overwhelmed police forces near Palanca St. corner Ayala Ave. They complained that policemen should also be barefoot and not wear combat boots, wounding a lot of feet. MMDA barriers were thrown aside. Still, the police and military did a good job. An old woman vendor wept to Mayor Isko when P10,000 worth of her goods were confiscated. Isko paid her P8,000 to compensate. An estimated 70 tons of garbage were carried away by 40 trucks.

MESSAGE FROM THE NAZARENE

There are two messages in this historic affair, one from Filipino devotees, the other from the Nazarene. The Filipino devotees said –

Kakapit po kami sa inyo, Panginoon. Kahit anong pagsubok ang ibigay niyo, kaya namin, basta’t nandyan po kayo sa tabi namin. Kahit yung dalawampung bagyo bawa’t taon, kaya namin.

(We will never abandon you, Lord. Even amid the greatest trials you send us, such as the 20-odd typhoons every year, we will endure as long as you are beside us.”)

In response, the Nazarene said –

Hindi ko kayo pababayaan dahil hindi ninyo ako pinabayaan. Ako ang dagat, kayo ang ilog. Aagos kayo pabalik sa akin, gaya ng ulang nagtubig nang inyong mga tanim. Ako ang baging, kayo ang sanga. Maging tapat kayo sa akin gaya nang pagiging tapat ko sa inyo.

I will never abandon you because you have not abandoned Me. I am the ocean, you are the rivers. Flow into me as I flow back into you, just like the rains that nourish your fields. I am the vine. You are the branches. Abide in me as I in you.

THE ESSENCE OF FILIPINO FOLK DEVOTION

Nowhere in the world can other Christian communities rival the Filipino Black Nazarene devotees, exemplified by the grass-roots mammoth crowd. Many say it is fanaticism, but theologians say it is the unique character of Filipino devotees, especially with regards the panata, the vow to attend the procession for the rest of one’s life, to atone for one’s sins and the sins of Mankind, and to participate in the salvation the Nazarene has given us.

There is no fanaticism in that, only atonement and pure prayer, not in words but in action. The essence of the Black Nazarene devotion is a prayer for forgiveness of our sins, and homage to the Messiah through whom sins are forgiven.

The image of the Black Nazarene with long curly hair was brought to the Philippines via a Galleon ship from Acapulco, Mexico by Spanish Friars, to appeal to the dark-skinned natives of Mexico and the Philippines. In a similar way, there is the Black Madonna in Antipolo, Philippines, as well as in Poland and Spain.

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Share this article by sending blog link – https://eastwindjournals.com/2021/07/20/the-mammoth-black-nazarene-procession/

Blogger – ex-Columnist (Inquirer) – Healing Ministry – ex-Professor (Ateneo U) – Documentary Producer-Director (freelance, ex-ABS-CBN) – ex-Broadcaster (Radio Veritas) – Facebook “Bernie V. Lopez Eastwind” / Pages “Eastwind Journeys and Journals” and “Mary Queen of Peace”.

amdg

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