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Editorial from Manila Times

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Philippines
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Friday, January 09, 2009

EDITORIAL

Quiapo’s Black Nazarene

now a national patron

Today is the grand fiesta of the Quiapo district of the City of Manila. It marks the end of the novena to Jesus the Black Nazarene that always starts on New Year’s Day. But unlike previous years—but like 2006, when the nation celebrated the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the life-size Black Nazarene sculpture in wood of Jesus Christ in the costume of a royal personage bearing the cross of Calvary and wearing a crown of thorns—the procession in honor of Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno (Our Father Jesus Nazarene) starts at the Luneta. It leaves the Luneta right after the 8 a.m. High Mass celebrated by Archbishop of Manila Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales.

Public safety drove Manila’s Church and police authorities to change the venue of the High Mass and procession from Quiapo church itself to the Luneta. The average participation has grown in the past decade to 80,000, which according to news reports quoting police officials, poses extraordinary hazards to the public.

A most spectacular religious event

The feast of the Black Nazarene is viewed by Manilans—and now people of many other cities that have also mounted High Masses and the Black Nazarene procession on January 9, making it a national feast day—as one of the most spectacular and deeply pious religious events in our country.

Here is the late National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin’s description of the procession, written in 1979 for Mr. and Ms. Publications’ Almanac for Manileños:

“To Quiapo’s fiesta procession speed wave on wave and horde upon horde of all Manila’s maledom: kanto boy and matón, jeep driver and stevedore, the siga and the sikat—all in the classic get-up of the Quiapo panata: towel round the neck, rolled-up trousers, bare feet, and white T-shirt printed with the face of Christ and the text Hijos del Nazareno. And all, from 13 years and up, have come to prove themselves macho in the roughest, rowdiest, ruggedest procession in the city’s year. And what a spectacle it is: that rumbling sea of heads in the midst of which, now sinking and now rising, now tottering and now falling, now rushing and now lagging, suddenly appears uplifted over the tumult, dark and dazzling, terrible and triumphant: the Lord of Downtown.”

There was a legend—maybe it was true—that the most wanted gangsters were immune from arrest on the day of the Quiapo fiesta as long as they wore the devotees’ standard costume and penitently suffered with the rest in pulling and bearing the carriage of the Black Nazarene.

Quiapo was known as “the worker district” which it may no longer be. Before the 1980s, in the pre- and post-World War II years, when there was still a true sense of community in Manila and environs (that area now knowns as Metro Manila or National Capital Region), everyone went to Quiapo church the way everyone now goes to the Baclaran Mother of Perpetual Help shrine. And most had friends and relatives living in Quiapo. They visited them for the fiesta—partook of the meal and went away full and feeling blessed by the miraculous Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno.

The statue was brought to Manila by the first group of Augustinian Recollect friars on May 31, 1606. The image was then housed in the first Recollect church in Bagumbayan (where Jose Rizal was executed) which was inaugurated on September 10, 1606, and placed under the patronage of San Juan Bautista/ Saint John the Baptist.

In 1608, the image of the Nazareno was transferred to the second, bigger Recollect church which was dedicated to San Nicolas de Tolentino. The Recollect Fathers zealously promoted devotion to the Suffering of Our Lord Jesus Christ represented by the Black Nazarene. Under their guidance, the Cofradia de Santo Cristo Jesús Nazareno was established on April 21, 1621. The confraternity obtained Pope John Innocent X’s approval on April 20, 1650.

In 1787, then Archbishop of Manila, Basilio Sancho de Santas Junta y Rufina, ordered the image of the Black Nazarene moved to the Quiapo church, which was then as now under the patronage of Saint John the Baptist. Today, Quiapo church also holds the title Minor Basilica of St. John the Baptist. The image has survived the great fires that destroyed Quiapo church in 1791 and 1929, the great earthquakes of 1645 and 1863, and the bombing of Manila in 1945.

When the statue was brought to Manila in 1606, the ship caught fire, scorching the image black, and which is how it came to be known as the Black Nazarene. The people preserved and honored Jesus Christ in the image of the Black Nazarene which has, through the centuries, proved to be the worker of cures, conversions and the return of lost souls to the Catholic Faith.

Miracles of conversion and cures

Miracles are believed to be given to those who touch the image. That is why devotees who share in the duty of bearing the gilded carriage that bears the image have a towel wrapped around their necks. The towels are thrown to the marshals aboard the carriage who wipe the Black Nazarene with them and then throw them back to the devotees.

Today, as centuries before, the sea of devotees will yell “Viva Señor” from the Luneta to Quiapo. The statue of regal suffering Nuestro Señor Jesus Nazareno standing with the large cross in the gilded carriage moves through the effort of the barefoot devotees pulling the long ropes.

Catholics devoted to Jesus as the Black Nazarene not only petition God for personal miracles. They also pray for peace and harmony among families, long life and good health for the entire Filipino nation and its deliverance from all calamities and disasters, as well as prosperity, joy and love among all the people of the earth.

:star::star::star::star::star:


..ANGELS..

2008-Jan-29 : I-129F Sent

2008-June-26 : Letter from Embassy

2008-July-10 : Medical

2008-Aug-04 : Interview Date

2008-Sept-18 : Visa Received

2008-Oct-11 : US Entry

POE : JFK New York

Got EAD Stamp on I-94 valid until 2009-Jan-09

2008-Nov-21 : Civil Wedding

2008-Dec-05 : Filed SSN

2008-Dec-12 : SSN Card Received thru mail

2008-Dec-16 : AOS Packet Sent to USCIS Chicago, IL via USPS (I-485 & EAD)

2008-Dec-18 : AOS Packet delivered to Chicago, IL (I-485 and EAD)

2008-Dec-23 : Check cashed

2008-Dec-29 : Received NOA (I-485 & EAD)

2009-Jan-02 : Received Appointment Notice

2009-Jan-14 : Biometrics Appointment (Done)

2009-Jan-30 : Received Transfer Letter (from Chicago to California)

2009-Mar-04 : Received EAD card thru mail

2009-Mar-25: Got a job :)

2009-Apr-24 : Received Welcome Letter

2009-Apr-24: Received 2-year Green Card thru mail :)

***LIFTING OF CONDITIONS : 2011-APRIL-13***

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Philippines
Timeline

Friday, January 09, 2009

FEATURE

Black Nazarene: Machismo vs. devotion

Is the feast of the Black Nazarene more about macho bragging rights than spiritual devotion? This rough-and-tumble religious procession held every 9th of January in Manila is not for the fainthearted.

Despite a heavy police and medical emergency services presence, last year’s feast led to the death of two people and injured 50, attracted more than a million people and took nearly seven hours to complete its 4.7-kilometer procession.

It is an event much like a rock concert mosh pit—thousands jostling as a heaving and groaning sweaty mass of muscle. All this just for chance to be a pingga—those who push the carriage of the Black Nazarene—or to be a salang—those who pull on one of the three ropes that form the symbolical reins of the carriage. All come barefoot to avoid aggravating the pain of one’s feet inevitably trampling and being trampled upon by fellow devotees.

Like any rowdy nightclub, this street event has its bouncers—enforcers garbed in maroon called mamamasan—who push the carriage as well as push back the sea of men to prevent them from being crushed by the carriages’ wheels. And like any many event it has its top dogs—men in yellow shirts who ride atop the carriage called hijos de nazarenos—who direct the mamamasan from on high.

Television journalist Julius Babao recalls his experience as one of those holding the carriage handles: “They kept on telling me, ‘No matter what happens don’t let go.’ The moment the gates of Quiapo Church are open, hundreds of people come swarming at you, it kind of reminded me of a scene from the movie 300 when the Persian troops crashed into Leonidas.’ People literally started climbing on my shoulders just to get up the carriage and touch the image. I even saw some people that I had just talked to a few moments ago stumble on the floor and get trampled.”

Fernando Carpio, parochial vicar of the Minor Basilica of Quiapo, said, “Sometimes it’s just a bragging right for men who participate in the festival. The sad thing is that it stops there and doesn’t have any lasting effect on their lives.”

Not just for men

Policeman Silvano Modo of the Quiapo police substation explained that the Feast of the Black Nazarene is not an all-male event. He attests that a handful of women do brave the event, but added, “They don’t last long, as soon as they’ve touched the caroza, they’re out of it.”

He said that, despite the religious nature of the event, “Pickpockets are commonly on the loose during the feast considering the thickness of the crowd.” Nonetheless, he commends the good nature of the devotees despite the event’s physicality and attests, “I don’t remember any fights erupting among the devotees.”

Babao defends the spirituality of Black Nazarene devotees. “I don’t think it’s a macho thing at all. Who would want to risk their lives by joining a parade like this if not for faith? I am convinced that it is sincere devotion that keeps them coming back to Quiapo.”

Felipe Jocano Jr., professor of anthropology at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, explained: “You’ll have to look into the concept of panata. A vow or panata is undertaken for any of many reasons, but it means that a special relationship has been established with the object of the panata. There is a reciprocal relationship established, with a clear expectation on both sides as to the nature of the relationship will entail. The risks are simply part of the equation.”

Reputedly miraculous

The Black Nazarene is reputedly miraculous. “There is a saving power in touch,” said Rt. Rev. Msgr. Josefino Ramirez, V.G. Sister Zeny Cauntay, Catholic charismatic preacher, cites biblical passages such as how the mere touch of Christ’s tunic healed a hemorrhagic woman.

The Vatican has encouraged devotion through it. In the 17th century, Pope Innocent X established the Confraternity of the Most Holy Black Christ Nazarene. In the 19th century Pope Pius VII granted indulgences to those who pray before the Black Nazarene of Quiapo.

Curiously, it is a replica that attracts so many devotees hoping for a wish-fulfilling touch. The procession uses the original body with a replica head. The original head is attached onto a replica body placed permanently behind the basilica’s main altar.

Over the years

The original Nazarene bears a gunshot wound from an incident in the late 1990s. It has survived calamities that destroyed Quiapo Church several times over: earthquakes in 1645 and 1863, fires in 1791 and 1929 and the American carpet-bombing of Manila in 1945.

The hijos de nazarenos and the mamamasan were first organized in 1976 to prevent the feast from degenerating into anarchy. Despite the further lengthening of the carriage’s three ropes every year, it is never long enough to accommodate all those who wish to be a salang.

This year, the procession begins at Luneta (Rizal Park) and ends in the Quiapo Basilica. The Black Nazarene replica has been moved to San Agustin’s Cathedral in Cagayan De Oro, Mindanao. The number of people drawn to the Black Nazarene can only get larger.

-- Rome Jorge, Perry Gil S. Mallari And Johanna Sampan

:star::star::star::star::star:


..ANGELS..

2008-Jan-29 : I-129F Sent

2008-June-26 : Letter from Embassy

2008-July-10 : Medical

2008-Aug-04 : Interview Date

2008-Sept-18 : Visa Received

2008-Oct-11 : US Entry

POE : JFK New York

Got EAD Stamp on I-94 valid until 2009-Jan-09

2008-Nov-21 : Civil Wedding

2008-Dec-05 : Filed SSN

2008-Dec-12 : SSN Card Received thru mail

2008-Dec-16 : AOS Packet Sent to USCIS Chicago, IL via USPS (I-485 & EAD)

2008-Dec-18 : AOS Packet delivered to Chicago, IL (I-485 and EAD)

2008-Dec-23 : Check cashed

2008-Dec-29 : Received NOA (I-485 & EAD)

2009-Jan-02 : Received Appointment Notice

2009-Jan-14 : Biometrics Appointment (Done)

2009-Jan-30 : Received Transfer Letter (from Chicago to California)

2009-Mar-04 : Received EAD card thru mail

2009-Mar-25: Got a job :)

2009-Apr-24 : Received Welcome Letter

2009-Apr-24: Received 2-year Green Card thru mail :)

***LIFTING OF CONDITIONS : 2011-APRIL-13***

1_880027260l.jpg

Visit My Website

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