In Bohol town 1,000 km from Quiapo, devotion to Nazarene takes a quieter route
TAGBILARAN CITY—Nearly 1,000 kilometers away from where millions gathered to venerate the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila, a much smaller assembly for the religious icon in a Bohol town made the same impact on devotees.
For hundreds of people who trekked to the Bohol Calvary in the town of Garcia Hernandez, the devotion to Black Nazarene didn’t have the spectacle of streets turning into a sea of humanity but faith giving a sanctuary, of inner peace beyond words.
At the feast of Black Nazarene on Thursday (Jan. 9), devotees in Bohol walked 3 kilometers to the Bohol Calvary to visit a small chapel that housed an image of the revered icon.
For residents, it was a mysterious place revered by many.
Mae Janice Galon, a devotee for eight years, said the mountain was itself a symbol of faith.
“As a single mom, I offer all to Him,” said Galon, 35, a mother of two sons.
The chapel drew devotees starting in 2011 when healer Marina Tadlip Reblinca transformed the place into a mountain retreat for prayer and healing.
“This place is blessed by the Black Nazarene so it is sacred for those in search of inner peace and spiritual strength,” said Reblinca.
Reblinca brought the image of the Black Nazarene from Palawan to Bohol Calvary after building a small chapel at the crest of the mountain with funds from devotees.
Since then, the place has become a destination for pilgrims.
Another devotee, Edward Guyano, said he hasn’t failed in his pilgrimage to the mountain but this year, he came alone.
Guyano, 49, said he didn’t feel lonely in his journey, however.
He took a shortcut since he has difficulty walking.
“I felt the Black Nazarene is with me so I don’t feel lonely,” he said as he walked to the chapel.
Guyano said he promised to visit the image following his healing from a stroke three years ago, which he attributed to a miracle by the Black Nazarene.
“Thank God,” Guyano said. He said “the harder” his sacrifice becomes, “the more blessing it brings.”
“The place gives me inner peace,” he said.
Reblinca said the Black Nazarene gives spiritual nourishment, hope, healing and inner comfort.
“He is our refuge and our strength for He is our God,” she said.
Hundred of devotees heard Mass at 10 a.m. and shared lunch.
Devotees fell in line to kiss the image of Black Nazarene after lunch and Reblinca performed “patunob”, a ritual of touching the heads and shoulders of devotees with the image of the Nazarene.
Edited by TSB
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