Today, January 9 is the feast day of the Black Nazarene. Nine (9) million devotees and pilgrims are expected to come, and witness the procession and activities during the day of the feast considered to be the biggest religious feast celebration in the Philippines. On the eve of the feast celebration, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims flocked to the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park, Manila which is the starting point of the procession the next day, to venerate, touch and kiss the miraculous Black Nazarene and camp their night out till the next day when an early dawn mass is held and the procession starts at sunrise where millions of devotees and pilgrims gather to witness the procession. Many faithfuls attested the miracles attributed to the prayers and veneration of the said sacred image from being healed and cured of their diseases to conceiving babies for those thought to be sterile and infertile to fulfilling their impossible dreams.
The Black Nazarene is carried into the streets for procession in a shoulder-bourne carriage known to devotees as the andas (from the Spanish word Andar meaning "To go forward"). The devotees wear the colour maroon and walk barefoot as an act of penance for Jesus on his way to Mount Calvary. Traditionally, only men are permitted to hold the ropes pulling the image's carriage, but in recent years female devotees have also participated in the procession. These rope pullers are traditionally called namámasán. People who have touched the Black Nazarene are reported to have been cured of their diseases, and Catholics come from all over Manila to touch the image in the hopes of a miracle. Towels or handkerchiefs are hurled to the marshals and escorts guarding the Black Nazarene with requests to wipe these on the statue in hopes of the miraculous powers attributed to it "rubbing off" on the cloth articles.
For the meantime, here is my own prayer to the Black Nazarene:
O most holy, most beloved Black Nazarene, thank you for all the blessings and graces you bestowed on us through the years. We thank you for the grace of life and health that you give us. We feel so sorry for all the transgressions and sins we committed and we humbly ask for your forgiveness as we strive each day for its reparation and as we struggle for a renewal of life of reformation, godliness affirmation and faith. We offer and entrust our lives with you and hope that we live our lives in accordance to your example and submit to your will. We ask for your guidance over us in everyday of our lives and shower us with your unconditional love and endless graces as we live a happy and fulfilling life and always save and protect us in all and every forms of danger of body and soul. We trust you and owe you our life, dear Lord. Amen.
Here is a further reading and facts about the most sacred and revered Black Nazarene. Click the link below:
If you want to pray the Nine-Day Novena, click the link below: