A devotee hangs on to the cross of the Black Nazarene as it makes its way through the streets of Manila for the annual Traslacion.
Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas and Gabrielle Fajardo
On Traslacion, Duterte asks Filipinos to show compassion in nation-building
Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - January 9, 2020 - 6:24pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte Thursday urged Filipinos to contribute to nation-building and to aspire for progress and a more inclusive future as Catholics commemorate the Traslacion of the Black Nazarene.

Duterte said the devotion to the Nazareno, the image of Jesus carrying the cross, reaches its highest expression in the annual Traslacion and continues to strengthen the faith of Filipinos as they face trying times.

"As we move in procession with the image of Christ in our midst, may we all be inspired to lead our nation towards greater progress, where everyone gets an equal chance for an improved quality of life," Duterte said in his message for this year's Traslacion.

"May we also learn the virtues of compassion and selflessness as we do our part in nation-building. Together, let us work towards achieving a better and more inclusive future for all Filipinos," he added.

Duterte, who had a spat with the Catholic Church over the criticisms of some bishops against his controversial campaign against illegal drugs, said the stories of conversion and miracles surrounding Traslacion attest to the richness of Filipinos' religious and cultural heritage.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Traslacion is "a strong and a constant reminder of our people’s deep and lasting relationship with the Almighty."

"It (Traslacion) is a good opportunity to strengthen our Christian ties with each other and move us to a spiritual awakening and rebirth that will contribute enormously to having a peaceful Philippines," he added.

Traslacion commemorates the transfer of the image of the Black Nazarene from Intramuros to the Minor Basilica in Quiapo in 1787.

Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion in the Philippines, with more than 80 percent of Filipinos adhering to the faith.

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