MANILA, January 8, 2018–A top official of the Catholic Church expressed hope that the country’s strong devotion to the Black Nazarene will lead its devotees to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.
Millions of devotees are expected to gather in Manila on Tuesday for this year’s feast of the Black Nazarene, one of the largest religious gatherings in the world.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila hopes that this year’s activities will draw more people closer to Jesus.
“May our participation in the different activities during the feast lead us in deeply knowing Jesus,” he said.
Reflecting on this year’s theme “Black Nazarene: The way, the truth, and the life”, he called on the faithful to prepare for the Black Nazarene feast through a closer look at Jesus.
“He is the way to the father. He is the truth that we’ve been looking for. He is the one who can give us and the society life,” Tagle said.
Local police said they are expecting close to 19 million devotees to participate in the activities, including the usual day-long procession of the Black Nazarene image from Luneta to Quiapo Church.
But to make it “more religious and more spiritual”, organizers put up 12 Prayer Stations along the route of the procession.
“We learn every year and the spiritual component of the Traslacion is one of the aspects that are not being given much attention in the past,” said Msgr Ding Coronel, Quiapo Church Rector.
“This is not an original idea from us. Even the police have these so-called segments. So, what we did here was to have prayer segments so it would be more religious and spiritual,” he said.
The prayer stations will be located in the following areas:
Pedestrian underpass in P. Burgos cor. Victoria (in front of Manila City Hall)
Pedestrian underpass in Liwasang Bonifacio
Sta. Cruz Church
Arlegui cor. Quezon Boulevard
Pedestrian overpass in Arlegui cor. P. Casal
Canopy of Manuel L. Quezon University
San Sebastian Church
Barangay hall in Guzman Street
Globo de Oro
Activities will begin on the actual feast day, January 9, with the midnight Mass to be presided over by Msgr. Coronel with Cardinal Tagle as homilist.
The procession is scheduled to start at 5:00 a.m. at the Quirino Grandstand en route to the Quiapo Church.
In 2017, the “Traslacion” took 22 hours as the carrosa bearing the “miraculous” image of the black Jesus weaved through the streets of Manila.
And with the expected big number of people that will participate in the religious activity, Cardinal Tagle asked everyone to pray for a safe, peaceful and clean feast.
“Our prayer is for the feast to be far from harm. Let us also pray that it will be peaceful and clean,” he said. CBCPNews