MANILA – Procession of the Black Nazarene

– Fr Leonard Dollentas

A few days after the celebration of the New Year, Catholic devotees flock to the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene-Parish of Saint John the Baptist Church in Quiapo in Manila, Philippines to prepare for the traditional Traslacion or the procession of the Black Nazarene every January 9. The Quiapo Church in the center of Manila houses the famous image of the Black Nazarene. Traditionally, the devotees of this miraculous image, numbering to millions hold the annual foot procession.

This year’s Traslacion, which was attended by over two million devotees was the fastest in recent memory and most orderly. This was confirmed by Msgr. Hernando Coronel, the Basilica rector. Coronel added that the procession this year lasted for “a mere 16 hours.” In previous years the procession lasted over 24 hours with a wider route and at a slower pace.

This year, city officials implemented some changes and followed a shorter route. The orderly and peaceful procession has shown greater improvement from the past years where a number were seriously hurt and hospitalized. This was due to the lack of order, cooperation and communications among the participants and the organizer. The report also attested a lesser amount of trash left by the procession participants. This is because the participants were committed to support environmental protection.

Devotees came from all walks of life. A huge number were simple daily wage earners, jobless, professionals, government officials, movie and showbiz personalities. But most were from the poorest of the poor, the poor Filipinos who placed their hopes in the Black Nazarene who like them, continue to endure suffering.  (Photos courtesy of Fr Jeff Manlapig)

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