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Black Nazarene procession starts as devotees swell to 500,000

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08:17 AM January 9th, 2013

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January 9th, 2013 08:17 AM

MANILA, Philippines — The procession of the Black Nazarene to Quiapo Church in Manila has started, nearly two hours after the 6 a.m. mass officiated by Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle at the Quirino Grandstand Wednesday.

Barefoot devotees clad in maroon shirts, waving handkerchiefs in the air, shouted “viva” as the mass drew to a close and the life-sized sculpture of Jesus Christ was brought down from the stage.

The crowd of 160,000 early in the day ballooned to some 500,000 according to police deployed in the area.

Devotees, as part of their “panata” or vow, will carry the Black Nazarene from Rizal Park to Quiapo Church. Considered miraculous by many Catholics, the statue will pass through an elaborate route through the city of Manila.

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