Foreign Black Nazarene devotees increasing — priest

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Devotees pull the rope of the carriage bearing the image of the Black Nazarene in this photo of last year's traslacion.

MANILA, Jan. 6, 2014— There is an increasing number of foreigners arriving in Manila to join the yearly procession of the Black Nazarene statue, a Catholic priest said.

Monsignor Clemente Ignacio, Rector of Quiapo Church, said that they are coming across a rising of number of foreign Catholics who come to Manila every year to join in the religious event.

Quiapo Church is home to Black Nazarene, a much-venerated statue of Jesus Christ which many Filipinos believe has miraculous attributes.

According to him, it was in 2008 when he observed the notable increase—an indication that the devotion to the Black Nazarene is growing more than ever not just locally but even abroad.

“I noticed this (increase) on the second year that I was assigned here (Quiapo Church). I’ve been here for seven years now,” Ignacio said.

The priest also revealed a proposal of the Manila Tourism and Cultural Affairs to invite Catholics abroad to join the Filipinos in demonstrating their faith.

“But that’s their own plan,” Ignacio said. “The Quiapo Church actually doesn’t make invitations but foreigners keep coming in.”

“My office is always being flooded by requests of families from different countries and ask guidance on how they could go here,” he added.

Ignacio earlier said he is expecting around 12 million devotees from last January 1 to 9 for the feast of the Black Nazarene.

The church authorities have already discussed with the concerned government agencies their plans on now to manage security, traffic and crowd control during the procession on Thursday.

Authorities also diverted the procession to the Jones Bridge and Escolta to avoid the McArthur Bridge amid concerns on the structure’s stability. (CBCPNews)

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