Crowds of Filipinos pray to statue for health, blessings

MANILA Wed Jan 9, 2013 3:00pm IST

1 of 2. Devotees struggle to hold the rope that pulls the carriage of the Black Nazarene during a procession in Manila January 9, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Romeo Ranoco

Related Topics

MANILA (Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands of barefoot Filipinos crowded around a black statue of Jesus Christ believed to bring miracles to the faithful, seeking the answer to prayers in a day-long procession through old Manila on Wednesday.

Roman Catholic devotees flocked around the carriage with the wooden, life-sized statue known as the "Black Nazarene" as it crawled through the city, praying that a slight touch would bless them, healing their illnesses and those of their relatives.

Others participated to give thanks for answered prayers, such as a new job, a baby and even winning lotteries.

"Everything we prayed for, He granted," said Girlie Tan, a mother of four, as she squeezed through crowds to get closer to the statue. "My children -- they used to study in a public school, now they're all in private schools."

Onlookers threw white towels and handkerchiefs to those on the carriage for them to wipe on the statue, which depicts Jesus kneeling with a heavy cross, in the hope of carrying away some of its healing powers.

The procession has been celebrated in the capital of the Philippines, nearly 90 percent of whose population is Roman Catholic, for more than 200 years. The Black Nazarene is also paraded through the city streets on Good Friday.

It is not known why the statue, which was carved in Mexico, turned black. There are myths that the original statue donated by Spanish priests was burned as a fire erupted on the ship that carried it to the Philippines in the early 17th century.

Police estimated that around 500,000 people gathered for an early morning Mass, and about half of them walked behind the statue at the start of the parade. Crowds were expected to swell to an estimated 10 million as devotees from all over the country flock to the annual festival.

Cornelio Cajampit has joined the procession every year for the last 15 years, ever since surviving colon cancer.

"Even if its' s a struggle, I pray that my life be prolonged," he said, adding that his health had improved since he began praying to the statue. "As long as I'm still capable, I will come to this feast."

(Reporting By Manuel Mogato, editing by Elaine Lies)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Korean Boat Tragedy

Family members of a missing passenger onboard the South Korean ferry Sewol which capsized on Wednesday, look at the sea as they wait for news from a rescue team, at a port in Jindo April 19, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Sunken Korea ferry relatives give DNA swabs to help identify dead

Relatives of some of the more than 200 children missing in a sunken South Korean ferry offered DNA swabs on Saturday to help identify the dead as a rescue turned into a mission to recover the vessel and the bodies of those on board.  Full Article 

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Everest Tragedy

Everest Tragedy

Death toll climbs in worst tragedy on Everest  Full Article 

Missing Plane

Missing Plane

Current underwater search for Malaysia plane could end within a week  Full Article 

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Putin welcomes new NATO head, says better ties with West possible  Full Article 

Japan Military

Japan Military

Japan expands army footprint for first time in 40 years, risks angering China  Full Article 

Journalists Released

Journalists Released

Kidnapped French journalists found on Turkey's Syrian border   Full Article 

Papal Message

Papal Message

Pope Good Friday service underscores plight of the suffering.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage