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Quiapo priest: Nazarene devotion may be superstition

Camille Diola - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Recognizing some practices of occultism and superstition in the Black Nazarene devotion, Quiapo Church lead priest said the local church community is working on educating churchgoers on proper expressions of faith.

Parish priest Monsignor Jose Clemente Ignacio, while admiring some devotions as genuine and natural "human expressions" of faith, said in a forum on Tuesday that many Catholic devotees of the 17th century image need "proper formation" to understand their faith through doctrinal instruction.

“With proper formation, we hope the devotees could experience more the love of God in their lives and realize their faith in Jesus,” Ignacio said in a CBCP News report.

While asking the public to understand what goes on in the heart of Black Nazarene devotees, Ignacio said the devotees themselves need to put things "in the right perspective" suggesting that devotions may be purely emotional without reason-driven belief.

“We have taken baby steps, reorganizing the parish and its ministers, doubling the personnel and prioritizing formation, liturgy and devotions…,” he said, realizing that devotees have different levels of faith from young to mature.

The rector, admitting that he himself may not be a "true devotee" of the statue depicting Christ carrying the cross, tried to reach out to Nazarene followers exercising more rigorous devotions.

“Slowly, we have tried to reach out to more mamamasans (devotees pulling the ropes) but we are only ‘scratching the surface,’” the priest said.

Ignacio, however, dismissed those who criticized the devotees as "delusional" and said they are not at fault for having less opportunities to be educated in the tenets of the Catholic faith.

“I hope, before we make easy judgments about devotions, we must first understand why people express their faith the way they do," he said.

The clergyman added that the overnight vigil on the eve of the January 9 feast is the parish's way to share teachings of the Church to the devotees.

The yearly procession Wednesday dedicated to the Black Nazarene sees millions of participants who believe that God grants miracles through the Mexican-made wooden image.

vuukle comment

BLACK

BLACK NAZARENE

DEVOTEES

DEVOTIONS

FAITH

IGNACIO

MONSIGNOR JOSE CLEMENTE IGNACIO

NAZARENE

QUIAPO CHURCH

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