photo by Froilan Gallardo

An estimated 5,000 people joined the Black Nazarene procession last Saturday, January 9 from St. Augustine Cathedral to Nazareno Church along CM Recto Avenue.

This year’s estimated number of devotees has more than doubled compared last year. It remains a far cry from the Quiapo festival, where an estimated two million devotees poured in during Saturday’s profession, killing two and injuring five others.

In Cagayan de Oro, the annual festival is only its second year. The procession started at the St. Agustine Cathedral at around 4 p.m. and reached its final destination at Nazareno Parish around 7 p.m.

Police and medical volunteers were on sight throughout the procession. As the mass ended, the callejeron-where the replica of the Black Nazarene was placed-was about to be lifted by the Hijos of the Black Nazarene of Cagayan de Oro but they failed: thousands had already converged in every corner of the cathedral. It took close to an hour for the image to finally move but, soon as it did, there was no stopping it as the police cordoned its perimeter to keep the crowd at bay.

As the Black Nazarene passed the streets, devotees lining the roadsides shouted “Viva Señor Nazareno” and threw confetti.

The “callejeron”  or replica of the famous Black Nazarene  was given by the Quiapo Basilica to the Nazareno church as a gift last year.

The original dark-skinned, wooden sculpture of  the suffering Jesus Christ is housed at the Quiapo Basilica and never leaves it. 

Instead, the Church made a life-size replica or “callejeron”  which Manila devotees pray to every year until it was sent here last year. A new replica replaced the original “callejeron”.  

The original image was said to be carved by an anonymous Aztec carpenter and was transported to the Philippines by a Spanish galleon from Mexico. 

from Mindanews and Suns Star CDO; photo by Froilan Gallardo

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