Dungaw: Centuries-old icons of Jesus, Mary meet at San Sebastian Church
After 17 hours on the winding roads of Manila on Tuesday, the image of the Black Nazarene finally arrived at the doorstep of San Sebastian Church at the Pasaje del Carmen for the traditional “Dungaw.”
Led in prayer by the church’s parish priest, Fr. Antonio Zabala Jr., the devotees chanted “Viva Hesus Nazareno!” in honor of the centuries-old statue of the suffering Christ, widely believed to be miraculous.
During the Dungaw, the Black Nazarene stops briefly in front of San Sebastian Church as its patroness, the Our Lady of Mount Carmel image, is brought out to “view” the carriage.
San Sebastian Church is the only stop that image makes throughout its 7-km long procession from the Quirino Grandstand back to its home in the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila.
In an interview the stopover, Zabala told the Inquirer the moment not only recreates the moment where the suffering Jesus meets the Virgin Mother on his way to the crucifixion. But it also allowed the meeting of two centuries-old icons that shared the same origin.
“What many people don’t know is that the Nazareno and the Virgin were both from the Recollect. In fact, they’re nearly of the same age,” Zabala said.
The image of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel, he said, was given by Carmelite nuns to the Recollect friars, who then brought the image to the Philippines in 1618.
The Nazarene image, meanwhile, was believed to have been brought by the Recollect from Mexico around that time.
“So really that’s one of the high points of the traslacion,” Zabala said. “Not only you have Mother Mary and her son meet each other briefly, but there is also historical value [in the images].”
But while the Dungaw has been an age-old tradition in the traslacion, it was only revived five years ago after being rediscovered by historians, Zabala said.
“That’s why it’s all the more iconic now,” Zabala said. “Not only is it recently revived, it also coincided with its celebration of [the Our Lady of Mount Carmel image’s] 400th year in the country.” /atm