Nazareno devotees asked: ‘Why use amulets?’

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Filipino devotees of the Black Nazarene across New York and New Jersey gathered to celebrate the feast of the Poong Nazareno on Jan. 9 despite the cold winter weather. (Photo: Kris Bayos)

MANHATTAN, New York, Jan. 11, 2016—Against the backdrop of harsh winter weather, a prelate reminds New York’s Nazareno devotees there is no need to resort to amulets locally known as “anting anting” because God alone is enough.

“Why is it that when we don’t get what we’re asking from the Lord, we go to amulets, to fortune tellers? When we think He’s (God’s) busy, He doesn’t hear my prayer,’ we go to the anting anting?”, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations asked Filipinos based in the US who gathered to celebrate the feast of the Black Nazarene on Jan. 9 at the Holy Cross Church.

The ranking Vatican diplomat said supposed devout devotees of the Black Nazarene sometimes resort to the said practices, which are against the teachings of the Catholic Church, when they think God has not been answering their prayers.

‘Superficial devotion’

“We should stop practicing our devotion artificially, superficially, motivated by selfish and materialistic desires,” Auza added.

Finally, he reminded the lay faithful about the sacrifices Jesus had to endure in his love for humanity.

“Why should a powerful God subject himself to such suffering? This is because the greater you love, the greater you are willing to make sacrifices,” he said.

More love, more sacrifice

“And if we really love God, we will be generous with him with our sacrifices and our offerings because after all, love is self-giving,” Auza pointed out.

Filipino devotees of the Black Nazarene across New York and New Jersey failed to carry the religious image in procession around Times Square, let alone walk barefooted, due to the cold winter weather.

Instead, the devotees carried the image in an indoor procession at the said church, where Auza celebrated a solemn high Mass for the feast day. (Kris Bayos / CBCP News)

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