This time of the year, millions of Filipino devotees celebrate the Feast of the Black Nazarene.
This black image of the 17th-century Jesus of Nazareth has been a source of inspiration and undying faith for the Filipinos.
What makes the Holy image of the Black Nazarene so special is the miracles that transpired for the believers. When a faithful sincerely prays, it's always granted -- even the most impossible.
My first ever Nazareno experience was about eight years ago. I celebrated the morning mass and prayed for blessings to happen in my life.
That was a pleasant experience to be with the flocks of the faithful. And so, I celebrated again in 2016 and 2017. Since I was in Manila for those years, I did not miss it.
How's this year's celebration possible amidst the threat of the pandemic? And when there's a threat of the new variant that's possibly been around undetected.
Filipinos would always defy the odds in observance of centuries-old religious traditions and expression of faith. Even with the health threat, devotees are unstoppable.
The good thing about this year's celebration is the strict observance of the health protocols. Devotees practice physical distancing and wear a mask for their protection.
This year, the Traslacion is declared canceled. However, the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene will celebrate the Holy Mass.
Compared to the previous year's experience, the Nazareno 2021 was something new we have yet to see. It was more orderly and quiet. This personal devotion is a celebration in the absence of chaos.
Millions of devotees may have yet to participate in this year's Feast Day of the Nazarene in Quiapo, but it's still possible in the comfort of our homes through online streaming.
The message was clear, and the hope of a better life is still my heart's desire. For this year, better health and protection would be of topmost priority.
And beyond personal intentions, it's about health, safety, and security. We're hoping that this pandemic will come to an end. May it be the end of suffering and a fresh start of the year and decade.
Nazareno 2021 is about hoping for a brighter year in uncertain times. Our timeless devotion will always be in our hearts, and our unwavering faith will bring new hope, a renewed life, and a new beginning.
©️ 2021 Del Cusay