Mass at Quirino Grandstand starts Feast of Black Nazarene
MANILA, Philippines–The celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene or the “Traslacion 2014” began early Thursday with a mass at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila.
Manila Archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle officiated the mass that started at around 6:30 a.m.
In his homily, Tagle urged nearly half a million devotees to pray for the victims of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan), which killed more than 6,100 people on November 8.
“It is often that we forget about our brothers from Tagum, Davao, who were affected by the Typhoon Pablo. Marami sa kanila, hindi pa inaahon nakalimutan na yata. Let us not also forget our brothers in Nueva Ecija, who were mostly farmers. Because of Typhoon Santi, they lost their livelihood,” he said.
The prelate stressed that the people were slowly forgetting those affected by the recent Zamboanga standoff between the government forces and Moro rebels.
“We might also be slowly forgetting our brothers in Bohol? And until when will we remember the victims of ‘Yolanda’,” he said in Filipino.
The earthquake in Bohol killed more than 200 while the casualties from the strongest typhoon on record to make landfall is at 6,190.
Tagle also told devotees that God’s love could not be measured as proven by Jesus who continuously carries the burdens of his children.
“Show your love for Jesus by praying, following and bearing witness to God,” he emphasized.
At the grandstand, Black Nazarene towels, shirts were among the popular items being sold.
The Philippine National Police is in charge of security, along with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Bureau of Fire Protection and the Philippine Coast Guard while the Department of Health is on hand to provide first aid to devotees who have been holding a vigil at the Quirino Grandstand since Wednesday night.
Officials say 6,000 policemen were deployed Thursday to secure the massive, daylong procession, a security nightmare due to the presence of Muslim extremists and widespread crimes in the country.
The Feast of the Black Nazarene is a major religious event in the Philippines whose population is largely Catholic.
It honors a centuries-old black statue of Jesus Christ in an annual event that organizers say was being held partly to pray for the victims of a monster typhoon that ravaged the central Philippines last year.
Officials say up to 12 million devotees may join but such figures are difficult to independently confirm.
Reports by: Nestor Corrales, Julliane Love de Jesus, and Matikas Santos
Videos by: Ryan Leagogo, Bong Lozada, and Kristine Sabillo
Edited by: Cathy Miranda, Noy Morcoso, and Hotaru Niitsu
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