By Azer Parrocha

A priest blesses a replica of the Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno in front of the Quiapo Church in Manila on Dec. 27, 2022. (PNA photo by Yancy Lim)

MANILA – Despite life’s greatest challenges, Filipinos remain hopeful and resilient because of their unwavering faith, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said on Monday.

Marcos made this remark as he joined Filipino Catholics in celebrating the Feast of the Black Nazarene.

“As the Catholic Faithful expresses their devotion to the Black Nazarene, let us also remember its deep rootedness in our Filipino culture of overcoming the great trials and tribulations in our midst,” Marcos said in his Black Nazarene feast day message.

“Indeed, it is through our faith that we can conquer the storms that loom ahead of us and bring forth a life filled with grace and steadfastness,” he added.

He enjoined the faithful to use the highly-anticipated religious tradition as a chance to find new meaning in their passions and sufferings as people.

Likewise, Marcos expressed hope that the image of a dark life-size Jesus carrying his cross would inspire devotees to embody “love, hope, and compassion” as they open themselves to helping others.

“Together, let us embody these values as we write a new chapter in our nation’s narrative so we can altogether usher in an era of peace and prosperity for all. I wish everyone a safe, meaningful, and solemn observance,” he added.

Marcos earlier declared Jan. 9 a special non-working day in Manila to allow devotees to join Feast of the Black Nazarene activities.

Manila also suspended work in the local government and classes in light of the celebration.

For the third consecutive year, the Quiapo Church is letting go of the traditional procession of the image of the Black Nazarene from Quirino Grandstand to the basilica for the celebration of the Traslacion.

The last procession was held in January 2020.

The Traslacion, which means “solemn transfer,” reenacts the 1787 transfer of the image of the Black Nazarene from its original shrine in Bagumbayan, the present Rizal Park, to its current home in Quiapo Church.

Even without the Traslacion, the Manila Police District earlier said it is expecting around 5 million devotees to participate in Black Nazarene feast day activities. (PNA)