Devotees pin hopes on Black Nazarene
MANILA, Philippines—If the Black Nazarene could grant her only one wish, 18-year-old Evangeline de Leon said she wanted to return to her life before it was devastated by Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”
“I wish our lives could return to the way it was,” De Leon said in Filipino.
De Leon, a native of Ormoc City in Leyte province, had stopped attending college and is now selling candles outside the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila, with her aunt to be able to contribute to the family’s finances. She has since become a devotee of the Black Nazarene.
De Leon recalled how Yolanda hit their home and destroyed everything her family owned.
“After Yolanda, we went to Cebu then to Manila. Everything changed. Everything was destroyed. Back to zero. Life is indeed a wheel. Our lives took a 360-degree turn,” she said.
“I’m working here part-time so that I may be able to bring back some money home,” De Leon said.
Dedicating life to Black Nazarene
Meanwhile, 32-year-old Laleine Diaz has been a fervent devotee for the last 10 years. She attested to how her prayers of having a peaceful life had been granted through her devotion to the holy image.
“Miracles don’t happen all the time. During times when you need it the most, He will grant your prayer. I’ve dedicated my life to Him,” Diaz said in Filipino.
Diaz said the devotion to the more than 400-year-old image of the suffering Jesus Christ runs in their family as two of her sons join the annual traslacion.
Safety, security of devotees ensured
The Manila Police District (MPD) and the administration of the Quiapo Church, in coordination with various government agencies, assured devotees like De Leon and Diaz that their safety is their utmost concern during the celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene on Friday.
Police Superintendent Marissa Bruno, public information head of the MPD, said preparations for the Traslacion have already been ironed out and that enough number of policemen will be deployed to secure everyone who will participate in the procession.
Bruno also asked the public to take note of road closures and traffic rerouting which will be implemented on January 8 and 9 in anticipation of the very heavy traffic in the city.
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada earlier suspended city government work and classes in all levels in the city.
This year’s traslacion theme is “Espiritu ng Poong Hesus Nazareno: Awa at Habag ng Abang Simbahan.”