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Black Nazarene and my grandfather

Posted by -edz- on 9:54 PM in , ,
Yesterday, January 9, was an important day in my home country. It was the feast day of the Black Nazarene. The Philippines is the only country that celebrates this spectacular religious event. And how do they celebrate it? Every 9th of January they place the 402 year old statue in a gilded carriage and barefooted men pull it from Saint John the Baptist Church (also known as Quiapo Church or Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene) around the streets of Quiapo, Manila. Devotees around the country join the procession and hope to touch the statue in the belief that it would heal whatever disease they have. They also throw white handkerchiefs and towels for the men in the carriage to rub on the statue in the hopes that doing so would transfer some of its' miracles or healing powers to the clothes.

It was reported this year by Manila Police Department District Director Senior Supt. Roberto Rosales that the crowd swelled to about 2.2 to 2.6 million. The 4.7 km-route ended at about 9:45 in the evening after starting in mid-afternoon. Unfortunately, due to the high volume of the crowd about 50 devotees were injured and 2 other died.
Anyway, that was basically what happened to the procession this year. But I'm not going to end this post here for I would want to share a family story I recently heard from my dad. He told me that my grandfather was a Black Nazarene devotee! There was a time in the past that my uncle (my grandfather's eldest son) got really sick and my grandfather petitioned his recovery to the Black Nazarene. And guess what? My uncle recovered from his illness. Afterwards my grandfather donated a statue of Quiapo's patron saint to our hometown, Surigao City. He contributed one that was the exact same size as the one in Quiapo Church. Yes, that news shocked me! I remember as a little girl I used to gaze at that huge statue and wonder why it was black. I would even imitate other people and touch it then make the sign of the cross. All the while it was donated to the cathedral by my own grandfather.

I've heard all sorts of great stories about my grandfather and hearing another one only makes me more proud of him especially since I never met him. He died few years before I was born. Well actually, few years before my parents even met. Sadly, I only saw 2 pictures of him which don't really help in painting him in my mind. But anyway that was my family story; the Black Nazarene and my late grandfather.

After my dad told me about my grandfather's deed I asked him, "Wow Dad my grandfather really did contribute a lot of great things to our city. How about you? What are you going to contribute to our hometown?"
And my dad replied, "Me? I'm going to donate a Casino!"

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