MANILA, January 9, 2018 — The yearly “Traslacion” or journey of the Holy image of the Black Nazarene attracts devotees from all walks of life from all over the country.
Each and every one of these men and women has his or her own story to tell and the journey they have embarked on towards their own spiritual enlightenment.
One such person is Brian Burce, 36 years old, a devotee of 17 years who belongs to the Christ the King Nazareth Disciples from Project 7, Quezon City.
Burce narrates that his encounter with the Black Nazarene began during his college years, when he frequented the Quiapo Church to seek guidance following the untimely death of his father and the downward spiral of a business that had given them some comfort in life.
“Dati kasi may negosyo kami na medyo malaki. Noong namatay ang tatay ko, halos wala natira kasi nalugi sa negosyo..Nagdasal at kumapit sa Diyos sa Poong Nazareno at unti-unti nakabangon kahit di na tulad ng dati, (We had a good family business back then. When my father died, there was almost nothing left. I prayed and held on to my faith in the Black Nazarene and slowly, our family recovered, although it was not like what we had),” Burce narrates.
Everyone wants to get close to the Black Nazarene or even just the rope that pulls the float and one should be willing to withstand the grueling conditions.
Thousands of devotees go to Quiapo to see the “Hari” or King to seek a variety of favors, prayers concerning health, financial stability, emotional and physical healing, and many other requests. But Burce simplifies his own.
“Tayo naman kasi minsan nalalapit tayo sa Panginoon ‘pag may ihihiling tayo eh. Natural lang yun pero dapat marunong din tayo dapat magpasalamat. Kalusugan at mahabang buhay ang hinihiling ko lagi sa Poong Nazareno. Hindi lang basta material na bagay o pera (When we are at our lowest, it’s human nature to turn to God but we should also show gratitude. When I pray, my priority is my family’s health and long life and not material things or money),” he says.
Burce notes that a devotee must take to heart the symbolism of the Traslacion: the maroon color of their clothing and general motif symbolizes the Blood of Christ or humility and passion to lay down His life for the sins of mankind, which he demonstrates when he and other devotees brave the odds and other obstacles just to be able to reach the float that transports the Black Nazarene.
“Halos kasi lahat gusto makahawak sa poon o sa lubid. Kasama na kasi ang sakit sa katawan dun na kailangan mong indahin (Everyone wants to get close to the Black Nazarene or even just the rope that pulls the float and one should be willing to withstand the grueling conditions.),” Burce says.
Even the rope that pulls the float is believed to be miraculous. “Minsan may kumukuha nito o kaya ginugupit ng mga ilang deboto (There are times when devotees take the rope or sometimes cut it off),” Burce notes.
On some occasions, ordinary bystanders who happen to be at the Traslacion route actually get pulled in by the frenzy and they become among the pullers themselves.
Burce explains that as early as the Procession of Replicas, devotees would go to each and every float to wipe their kerchiefs or towels, believing that these also hold miraculous powers as the “Hari” or the King of Replicas.
And while some prefer to leave their fate to God, Burce stresses the importance of good physical condition when participating in the Traslacion because of the immense physical demands of the activity itself.
“Kasama po ang disiplina at tamang pagkain (Discipline and proper diet and physical conditioning are important),” he says.
For the last 17 years, Burce has been making the journey, but his prayers remain the same.
“I love my family more than anything else. Kaya ganun na lang ang hiling o debosyon ko sa Mahal na Itim na Nazareno. Hindi man material ang hiling kundi good health and free from harm na lang (That’s my plea and reason for devotion to the beloved Black Nazarene–not material things, but just good health and freedom from harm),” he says. (Albert-Anthony Abando/PNA)