It’s one of those things I distinctly remember. The big cargo box arrived onto the old parking lot of Saint Patrick’s Church and it contained the image of Jesus carrying the cross which my grandmother had sought out as a gift to her downtown parish.
It is the Black Nazarene. Below is a picture of the image which resides at the front doors of Saint Patrick’s Church today.
Every January 9 the original life-size image of the Black Nazarene is taken on procession in Quiapo, Manila. Thousands of men come barefooted to this fiesta as a sign of humility.
Thousands try to touch the image in hopes that miracles and cures will occur. This custom has been carried out for over 200 years since its housing at Saint John the Baptist Church in Quiapo in 1787. In this context, many come with firm hope in their faith in the suffering Christ who suffers with them.
Our expression today at noon will be different. Today, we will gather and celebrate the passion of Christ through the lenses of the Black Nazarene. But most importantly we gather to celebrate Eucharist… Christ coming to us. We will not only touch, we will taste and see the goodness of God who gives himself without reserve to the world. In this celebration at our downtown parish we are reminded of the Christ who suffers with humanity. Where he has gone, we hope to follow….to the empty tomb!