While thousands of rowdy devotees scrambled in Quiapo yesterday, devotees in Cebu celebrated the feast day of the Black Nazarene in a calm and prayerful setting.
About 200 people gathered at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Hesus Nazareno in barangay Cansojong, Talisay City, where they touched and prayed before a replica of the life-sized dark-skinned figure of a suffering Jesus Christ.
“The celebration is very peaceful over here. Thanks be to God,” said Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma who celebrated Mass at the shrine run by the Society of the Angel of Peace (SAP).
“Jesus reminds us that He, the son of God, carries his cross,” said Palma.
“We also ought to carry our crosses. Our prayer is not for God to take away the cross, but to give us the strength to carry it.”
A wooden hand of the Black Nazarene was kissed by devotees, including the archbishop.
Msgr. Cristobal Garcia, the shrine’s rector and founder of SAP, el of Peace (SAP), laid the hand on the heads of clergy members as a blessing and invoked healing for the sick.
The Jan. 9 feast day comes just before the feast of the Sto. Niño de Cebu on the third Sunday of January.
“The image of the Nazareno should not be brought out only during Holy Week. The devotion is not only good for one season but for the whole year,” the monsignor said.
Msgr. Garcia said parishes in Cebu should reserve a special place for the image of Jesus of Nazareth, to comfort those suffering from illness.
Among those who attended the Mass was a grateful 51-year-old Manny Aller of Lapu-Lapu City.
“Jesus granted my wish. My two children were able to finish their studies,” he told Cebu Daily News.
Aller started his devotion to the Black Nazareno while working in Manila.
The devotion to the Black Nazarene was propagated by the Recollect Fathers who brought the statue in May 31, 1606.
The image was enshrined at the first Recollect church in Bagumbayan or what is now known as Rizal Park.
For more than 200 years, the statue has been placed on a gilded carriage every January and pulled through the streets of Quiapo by male devotees. /Ador Vincent Mayol, Reporter