Cardinal Jose Advincula called on devotees of Manila’s image of the Black Nazarene “to reach out to our brothers and sisters, especially those who are struggling today.”
The cardinal celebrated his first “Feast of the Black Nazarene” Mass as prelate of the national capital in an almost empty church due to the pandemic on Sunday, January 9.
He urged devotees “to help each other live with dignity” in the face of crisis.
For the first time in recent memory, public Masses inside the minor basilica in Manila’s Quiapo district were banned during the feast amid the sharp spike in coronavirus cases.
Masses were, however, celebrated in the church throughout the day and were “livestreamed” through the archdiocese’s various online platforms.
In his homily, Cardinal Advincula called on Filipinos to rise from challenges, turn away from sin, and live as God’s children.
He said God does not want people’s dignity to be trampled on. “He does not want us to be destroyed by sin and wickedness,” he said.
“Let us also stand to lead one another to holiness and prosperity in life,” said the cardinal.
This year’s celebration marked the second time after last year that the traditional procession of the revered image of the Black Nazarene was called off since World War II.
The cardinal assured the devotees who were saddened by the restrictions that the Black Nazarene is still with them.
“Although not all of us can visit here in Quiapo, the Señor himself visits our families and homes,” said Cardinal Advincula.
“Even if we can’t get close to his image, He is the one who is approaching us now. He enters our hearts and strengthens our hope. He intercedes with us and binds us in love,” he said.
The Manila archbishop also assured the millions of devotees that Jesus knows what they are going through, especially during this pandemic.
“He feels for us and he sympathizes with us,” he added. – from a CBCP News report