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Veiled feast day

Uriel Quilinguing .

LATELY, I find it difficult to find answers to questions, including those which were raised out of plain and simple curiosity.

One of these came from a girl, barely in her teens: “Sir, di ba bag-o lang ta nag-celebrate sa birthday ni Jesus tong Pasko. Karon, nagpas-an na lagi si Hesus og krus. Ngano man, Sir?”

I did not answer. Instead, I responded by saying: “Human na ka pagsulat sa imong news? Hapit na usa ka oras…”  

Until now, I am still looking for an explanation.

Her question was what she observed on Wednesday (Jan. 9, 2019) last week when thousands of Catholic devotees were on the street for the “traslacion” (transfer), the traditional annual procession of the iconic life-sized Black Nazarene image from its supposed original shrine to a church where it is being venerated.

In one television coverage, one of those interviewed shared his views and this is what was said: “Yong Poong Nazareno, lagi na mang nasa loob ng simbahan sa Quiapo…e  bakit ngayon lang nilalapitan at pinag-aagawan?

I agree with his observation and, like him, I cannot understand the phenomenal fanaticism.

Not only that. Many devotees claimed they were cured from ailments after touching the image, others by the cloth that was rubbed over it. They were certain their treatment was due to what they did and strong belief. And that is not to ask for a medical explanation. Miracles need not be explained.

There were celebrities, too, who testified having been devotees of the Black Nazarene and attributed what they are and what they have now due to their religious devotion.

Their testimonies hint that there’s something mysterious in the venerated sculptured kneeling Jesus Christ with a cross on His shoulders.

Catholic church leaders kept on saying the icon is just a representation of Jesus Christ and devotees merely identify themselves with the sacrifices of the Son of God.

Later, when I opened my personal computer to check on my Facebook wall, I saw friends’ posts on a kilometer-long procession in Cagayan de Oro, from the Saint Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral to Jesus Nazareno Parish Church.

Several of them said the procession is part of the religious observance of the Feast of the Black Nazarene. Even major Metro Manila-based media outfits described the country’s biggest and longest procession as the highlight of the Jan. 9 Feast of the Black Nazarene.

Really? I checked the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church and the Feast of Jesus, the Nazarene is being observed every Good Friday and that happens to be April 19 this year? 

April 9 is the feast day of 13 little-known saints, one of them is Saint Waningus, a Benedictine monk.

Clearly, the supposed Feast Day of Jesus the Nazarene is overshadowed by the “traslacion” procession.

This is one of the questions, and I need a convincing explanation.

(Uriel C. Quilinguing is a former editor-in-chief of this paper.)

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