N. Samar church declared Black Nazarene shrine

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CATARMAN, Northern Samar, Sept. 14, 2016 – A mission center church located in a small barangay on the outskirts of Catarman in this province was solemnly elevated on Sept. 12, Monday, into a Diocesan Shrine of Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno in a Mass presided by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle graced the Solemn Dedication of the Church of St. Rock the Healer Mission Cennter in Brgy. Cawayan, Catarman, Northern Samar. The mission center church was also elevated into a diocesan shrine. Crafted in the nearby town of Laoang, Tagle's staff (baculo), was designed by Msgr. Gaspar D. Balerite. (Photo: Arnel M. de Silva)

First in the diocese

The solemn dedication and blessing of St. Rock the Healer Mission Center Church in Brgy. Cawayan, in accordance with a decree signed by Bishop Emmanuel C. Trance, D.D., was the first Solemn Dedication of its kind in the diocese.

With this, devotees of the Black Nazarene in the province and even in nearby provinces do not need to physically go to Quiapo, Manila, as a replica of the Nazarene is now enshrined at the solemnly dedicated Church of St. Rock the Healer.

Trance, in the document, said: “Msgr. Clemente Ignacio, then Rector of the Minor Basilica entrusted it to the Diocese of Catarman in response to my ardent request that the popular Black Nazarene of Quiapo devotion would be extended and begun here in the Diocese. I assigned the sacred replica to the custody of St. Rock the Healer Mission Center administered by Fr. Rico M. Manook, who was then in the middle of the construction of the new church for the mission center.”

Devotees and pilgrims from throughout the diocese who came to know about the sacred replica in Cawayan started to flock to the small chapel, especially on Fridays for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. The devotion to the Black Nazarene has grown immensely since its arrival in the diocese on March 3, 2014.

Individuals with sickness or infirmities and other needs would prayerfully approach the sacred replica or write their petition, which is dropped in the petition box near the image.

Synchronized celebration of Traslacion 

Last Jan. 9, 2015, during the annual celebration of the Traslacion in Quiapo, Manila, the first synchronized Mass and celebration of the Traslacion was also held in Cawayan with the transfer of the sacred image from the small chapel to the unfinished church of St. Rock the Healer Mission Center, which is located along the highway going to the University of Eastern Philippines (UEP), a state university in Catarman Northern Samar.

It was in UEP where a fundraising concert was held by the Christ the King College Youth Symphony Orchestra for the church construction of the Mission Center church in December 2011.

Great devotion

In less than a year since the replica’s arrival, devotion to the Black Nazarene in Brgy. Cawayan matches the intense fervor enjoyed by the original image in Quiapo, Manila. The traslacion was celebrated a second time on Jan. 9, 2016 in the nearly finished church.

Fr. Rico Manook, the first and present administrator of the mission center, acknowledged the intensity of devotion and piety to the Black Nazarene manifested by devotees and the big number of attendance that has doubled from the previous year.

Ever since the new church of St Rock the Healer had been chosen to house the sacred replica, its construction, starting from its ground breaking on Aug. 21, 2011, hastened, reaching completion in five years.

The sacred replica was also brought to several parishes in the diocese where parishioners would welcome it with prayer vigils and Masses. (Carl Jamie Simple S. Bordeos/CBCP News)

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