I started attending the feast of Jesus Padre Nazareno right after my father passed away in 2005. January of 2006 I then vowed to continue his devotion. As most people in the Philippines know, the feast is attended by millions of people and the procession lasts for almost a day. It is quite impossible to go with the procession specially for women as one will just get mashed in the crowd. I then go late at night when the procession has already entered the church.
However, the for the past years, the procession has always been delayed so I managed to catch the procession entering the basilica. I thought that last year was a great big miracle on how I was able to get inside the church. Apparently the mass was not yet through so there was a thick crowd outside. I blogged about these experiences unfortunately when I was not able to renew my domain and hosting the content was also gone.
This year I arrived a bit early since I came from the feast of St. Philomena at the Holy Redeemer Church in Del Monte QC. We arrived in Quiapo around 9pm and double parked near Chow King. I was surprised with the huge crowd more than a block away from the church.
Oh boy! I thought to myself, this must be worst than last year. I heard on the radio that this year was the biggest crowd in years at more than 7M! However I heard Padre Nazareno tell me to go on and try to get inside the church so I did. I did not really push my way through. I tried following some ladies in a light blue uniform go through the crowd till we reached the church entrance. The sign said “Labasan” (exit).
That’s how far I can go I thought. The security person just allowed the ladies in blue in. Much later I realized they were part of the choir.
I then took some photos of the sea of humanity around me.
It was a comfortable spot where I was standing for the cool breeze can be felt. Communion was being given and I asked the guard if the lay minister will go out and he replied in the affirmative. However after a few minutes, I noticed an opening nearby. I went through the gap and was able to enter the church!
Hmm however there is still that steel divider which keeps me from getting to the center. I tried going another way and received communion. Then voila! I was able to get near the first pew! Right in front of the church!
What is so amazing this time was that after the mass has started for a few minutes, a lady stood up from the first row, I guess tired of seating and I was able to take that seat! Jesus of Nazarene had been extra kind to me this year. For the first time I was able to attend the last mass of the feast. In the past I arrived later and the mass has ended or just about to end. He knew I was not yet that well from my allergies, asthma and fever so he made me comfortable amidst the thousands of people around me. And as a bonus, the of the guys in the choir opened the huge electric fan which swung our way.
I thanked the Lord for this special privilege, for the strength and courage that He gave me through the challenging years.
The mass ended maybe past 10pm but the procession was stuck in Arlegui so the priest decided to have a holy hour said. At about 11:30pm the priest spoke to the people outside in Plaza Miranda, requesting to move out and clear the way for the procession now in Villalobos just couldn’t get through. At midnight everyone stood up on the pews including me, singing and waving as the procession started to get inside the church.
For a long time I just could not understand what Translacion 2011 meant. I saw banners and T shirts with this name. I tried checking online and apparently it meant, celebrating the Transfer of the Image of Jesus Nazareno to the current Church. It originated in Mexico.