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Catholic procession in Philippines divinely protected in midst of terror attacks

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
1/10/2017 (6 months ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Did the Black Nazerene statue protect the celebrating Christians?

Terrorist attacks in the Philippines force Christians to keep extra security close at hand.

Filipinos were safe during the Black Nazarene procession on Monday (BlueDreamers27).

Filipinos were safe during the Black Nazarene procession on Monday (BlueDreamers27).

Highlights

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
1/10/2017 (6 months ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Manila, Philippines, Catholic, procession, ISIS


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - During the Black Nazarene procession in Manila on Monday, security forces are especially vigilant.

U.S. and British embassies alerted their citizens to the dangers from local terrorist attacks conducted by those desperate to earn a place with ISIS.


During the Black Nazarene procession, about 470,000 predominantly barefoot Filipino Catholics celebrated in the streets.

They carried a large wooden Black Nazarene with a cross, which had authorities concerned for an attack.

According to Aljazeera, the procession lasted 22 hours, with devotees crowding around the Black Nazarene.

Many reached out to touch the statue, believing they would be healed from illnesses, their relatives would be healed, and they would all be blessed, much like the woman who bled for twelve years before traveling 30 miles to get just one touch of Christ's cloak, which healed her body.

Over 100 million Filipinos are Roman Catholic or about 80 percent of the population. To protect those celebrating, roughly 4,000 soldiers, police, and first responders were present. There were no serious incidents.

The Catholic Herald explained national police chief Ronald Dela Rosa reported officers have been on alert but are not currently monitoring any specific threats.

Catholics carry a replica of the Black Nazarene during a procession ahead of feast day celebrations in Manila.

Catholics carry a replica of the Black Nazarene during a procession ahead of feast day celebrations in Manila (CNS).


Despite Dela Rosa's statement, officials believe the greatest concern Monday was a retaliation against the Church following the death of an extremist leader the previous week.

The leader, Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, died in a gun battle Thursday and three of his cohorts were arrested.

A suspect linked to Maguid's gang was killed alongside a Filipina while they allegedly attempted to throw a grenade at policemen to avoid arrest on Saturday.

In the midst of ongoing attacks, threats and heavy police work, the Philippines' Catholics celebrated the Black Nazarene by carrying a life-size statue of the crucified Christ.

The beautiful piece is believed to have been brought to Manila on a galleon in 1606 by Spanish missionaries from Mexico. Unfortunately, the ship caught fire and was destroyed - but the charred statue survived.


In fact, the statue not only survived the galleon fire but also other fires, earthquakes, war and bombings, leading the faithful to believe it is a mystically powerful work.

Perhaps the power within the statue is what kept the faithful safe that day, or it could have been the throng of angels gathered to protect the Christians. Either way, the Black Nazarene procession went off without a hitch.

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