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Monday, January 16, 2017

Feast of the Black Nazarene in FilipinoTown in Woodside NY 2017






The popular Feast of the Black Nazarene is one of the most significant festivals in Philippines, and is also celebrated every year by Filipinos living in New York at the San Sebastian Church in Woodside NY on the 9th of January.

The Black Nazarene, known to devotees in Spanish as Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno (Filipino: Mahal na Itim na Nazareno; English: "Our Father Jesus [the] Nazarene") is a life-sized, dark wooden sculpture of Jesus Christ carrying the cross, believed to be miraculous by many Filipino Catholics. Originally with fair complexion, it turned dark after it survived a burning ship on its arrival from Mexico. The image is currently in the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo district, ManilaPhilippines, where it is venerated weekly with Friday Novena Masses. There are also three annual processions associated with this icon, most notably on January 9, celebrating its transfer (Spanish: Translación) and enshrinement in the present Basilica, and is attended by several million devotees.

The statue's original Mexican sculptor is unknown but the image arrived in Manila via a Galleon ship from AcapulcoMexico. Folk tradition attributes the dark color of the statue to a fire on the ship carrying it, charring the white image to its present dark complexion. Church records in Intramuros district note that there were two identical images of Black Nazarene brought to Manila. The first was kept in San Nicolas de Tolentino church in Bagumbayan and later transferred to Intramuros when the old edifice was demolished. This Black Nazarene was bombed and destroyed in the 1945 Battle of Manila. The other statue was given by the Recollect Priests to the Quiapo church, and it has been often mistaken by many to be the first destroyed statue during the war.

The religious veneration of the Black Nazarene is rooted among Filipinos who identify themselves with the Passion of Jesus Christ. Many devotees of the Black Nazarene relate their poverty and daily struggles to the wounds and tribulations experienced by Jesus, as represented by the image. Although the patron saint of the basilica itself is Saint John the Baptist, the Black Nazarene overwhelms it due to mass appeal. Devotees also pay homage by clapping their hands at the end of each mass offered at the shrine. Every Friday of the year is locally known as Quiapo Day, and is dedicated to the Black Nazarene, with the novena being held not only in the basilica but in other churches in the Philippines and also here in Woodside Queens New York, NY.

Filipinos in New York have adopted a similar procession and Mass in honour of the Black Nazarene statue at San Sebastian Church in Woodside NY United States. A copy of the image is paraded inside the church or within the parish vicinity, with devotees following and reciting prayers as in the Philippines.

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