The Ordeals Black Nazarene devotees undergo during the Annual Procession
The 2011 Black Nazarene Procession
This year’s celebration of the procession of the Black Nazarene took place Saturday, January 8 in the City of Manila, starting from Rizal Park at the historic Luneta, the procession with its centerpiece the carriage bearing the image of the Black Nazarene, snaked its way along routes filled to capacity with doting Black Nazarene well-wishers, supporters and devotees, wound its way in Manila’s Quiapo Church, per report of the Associated Press.
Jostling with the mass of devotees in the carriage bearing the image is miraculous
Joining the procession, especially that of rubbing elbows, climbing onto shoulders and being tossed up just to get near Christ’ image they say is miraculous. It’s a penitence . In the process, illness are cured, wishes, prayers and intentions are fulfilled, they say.
About 2 million of devotees in attendance
Attended by about 2 million devout Christian devotees and parishioners on barefoot, according to police, the procession was a noisy mass of people packed sardine-like, waving towels, clawing, elbowing, bumping, shouting, giggling , jostling and pulling onto the ropes to get near the Nazarene image as the procession crawls along the 5-kilometer route.
To get curative powers, towels are wiped on the face of the Black Nazarene
Once with the Black Nazarene, devotees one after the other, kissed and wiped him with towels to get a share of his curative powers. As the procession and the Black Nazarene carriage rolls on, towels of all sorts flew here and there from the devotees to the Black Nazarene and back. Throwing towels towards the carriage where the image is, is a good way devised by devotees who are themselves inutile and weak to jostle their way up the carriage just to wipe Jesus image with it. Burly and able-bodied devotees guarding the Nazarene catch the towels and do for them the wiping . Then the towels now minted with Jesus’ curative powers are hurled back to the addressees.
Death and injuries may result
It is no wonder why deaths and injuries results annually during such events as this. This particular event alone more than 450 followers got hurt, fainted or injured; at least 10 individuals were hospitalized.
A devotee, one of the thousands escorting the Black Nazarene image died of heart attack Friday morning, January 9, 2015. The fatality was from Dimasalang, Manila, Renato Gurion, 44, who was positively identified by the Chief of the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC) Johnny Yu.
Gurion died of heart attack, Yu said in an interview on GMA News TV's Balitanghali. The incident reportedly happened an hour after the Traslacion started and was still at the vicinity of Quirino Grandstand.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said a total of 84 devotees were treated, most of them for hypertension and abrasions at the Quirino Grandstand.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), on the other hand, attended to three devotess who lost conciousness.
In the past 10 processions, 6 have died, including two deaths reported in 2010, with many injured by the crush of the crowd, from a report published January 9, 2015 in GMA News.
Cardinal Rosales was quoted to have asked God to answer the devotees prayers
The scene as a whole was indeed touching. The Associated Press quoted Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales to have said: “It was simply overwhelming seeing that sea of humanity. I asked, Jesus, can you see these people? Please answer their prayers”
The procession is no place for the weakhearted
But the scene is far from orderly It’s scary for the uninitiated. There’s a possibility that you’ll be trampled upon by a sea of mad-like people. The Black Nazarene procession is no place for the weak-hearted and the physically disabled
Pacquiao is a Black Nazarene devotee
The Philippines No. 1 pugilist Manny Pacquiao joined the throng of worshippers. A devout Roman Catholic, Pacquiao is reported to have visited the Nazarene several times, especially after his boxing bouts.
Peace officers and health personnel look after the security and medical needs of procession attendees
About 3,500 police officers were assigned to secure the area, aside from doctors, nurses and the like to provide medical assistance.
The amazing story behind the Black Nazarene
Christ’s statue with thorns and a cross, had been brought from Mexico to Manila 1606 by Spanish missionaries, it is reported. It’s called BLACK NAZARENE because the ship carrying it burned down at sea. It miraculously survived.
The statue had survived fires and earthquakes through the centuries. It also withstood the havoc of WWII as bombs shattered the city. Thus scores of Filipinos believed in its mystical powers.
It was night when the procession ended as expected by church authorities.
As interviewed by Associated Press, Jose Garcia, 45, clutching a rosary in one hand, said he believed his yearly attendance at the procession had cured his crippled son who now can walk. Another son was recently diagnosed with a heart ailment. “ God. Please senor, save my other son," he said to the statue.
In all of Asian countries, the Philippines is predominantly 80% catholic.