Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Nazareno 2019: Celebrating the Traslacion

Just a week after the new year 2019 celebration on January 1st, Filipinos gather to celebrate one of the most prominent devotions to Jesus Christ  the feast of the Black Nazarene.

I've celebrated the feast of the Black Nazarene since 2013. That was my first time hearing the mass at the Minor Basilica on its feast day with my sister, whom I had convinced would come with me. 

That was a solemn event on the church's facade as it was not so crowded that people could move freely. I missed it the following year in 2014 and 2015 and celebrated it again for 2 consecutive years in 2016 and 2017.  Compared to my experience, Nazareno 2013: Celebrating the Feast of the Black Nazarene was a bit crowded, but devotees are well disciplined to follow the rules inside and outsideNazareno 2013: Celebrating the Feast of the Black Nazarene was a bit crowded, but devotees are well disciplined to follow the rules both inside and outside of the church.

Nazareno 2016: Feast of the Black Nazarene was a peaceful celebration of the faithful and devotees of the Holy image. As I remember, it was well organized as people were guided well by the Hijos Del Nazareno or the "Sons of the Nazarene," who are the chosen ones to actively devote their time to protect the Nazarene until their last breath.

Nazareno 2017: Devotion to The Feast of The Black Nazarene was a meaningful celebration as I contemplated the event's significance on our faith as Catholic Christians. That was also a peaceful event near the Minor Basilica as I heard the mass.

At this year's celebration, I brought my sister with me to hear the mass. It was so crowded outside the church that we could not get inside and preferred to stand outside to listen to the pack while watching on a Big screen. After an hour and as the group ended, a drizzle of rain just poured over our heads. That was a blessing as people would have believed it, and even I have asked for a Divine miracle through the rain to calm people down from the warm weather.

What's unique about this year's celebration was the incredible experience of witnessing the traslacion in Chinatown in Binondo, Manila. Many devotees joined and saw the grand parade of the original image of the Black Nazarene, followed by other pictures from different churches and local sectors. People shouted "Viva" to honor the Nazarene as they waived their white and maroon-colored hankies.

As the faithful glorified the Holy image, we've also witnessed untoward events like those needing medical attention. People would dare to get hurt for the sake of their faith. They intended to reach closer to the carriage of the Holy image or even touch the rope attached to it, which they believed could bring a miracle to their hopes and prayers.

We can't get too close to the Holy image and are just content to see it from afar. In reality, seeing the event gives a particular emotion of happiness and fulfillment. I've only watched the traslacion as being reported live on TV for years, but I'm blessed to have been part of it this year.

Others may have questioned the event as a form of fanaticism, but only a devotee can experience the miracles and blessings of their faith. I have joined the thousands or millions of Catholic faithful and devotees of the Black Nazarene and understand their faith's expression. They do not question it, but instead, they live it in their hearts.

This event is beyond tradition. It is already embedded in our consciousness to strengthen our faith and get closer to God. We long for God's presence when we feel unloved, uncared for, and desperate.  When we think unsecured and in danger, we call for protection. We call for healing the body, mind, and spirit whenever we are sick.

We'll forever be grateful to the Black Nazarene for his Holy Image that has strengthened the faith of millions of Filipinos who never gave up amidst the current challenges that the church is facing. We will stand together for our faith and not get intimidated by those who would put us down or question our faith.

May the Holy Spirit be upon us daily and protect us from evil. May God enlighten us so we can speak our truth and inspire others to draw near to him. May we all be united to glorify Jesus, the divine image of the Black Nazarene. In this time and our lifetime, today and forever even until our last breath.

© 2019 Del Cusay