An appraisal of the Filipino Catholic Devotion to the Black Nazarene in the light of New Evangelization

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Joseph Albert Reyes

Subject: Arts & Humanities, Anthropology & Ethnography Keywords: Black Nazarene; Popular Devotion; Filipino Catholics; Sacred Liturgy; New Evangelization

Popular devotions are reflections and expressions of the people’s faith. They are expressions of how people recognize God in their lives, and as a shared experience, they foster expressions of devotion and thus become a manifestation of prayer. Popular devotions as forms of prayer and worship do not contradict the Sacred Liturgy but are acknowledged as legitimate by the Apostolic See. Moreover, popular devotions, in general, lead to the cultivation of some values. One of the most popular devotions among Filipino Catholics is the devotion to the Black Nazarene, a life-sized statue of Jesus Christ kneeling in one knee carrying the cross-dressed in a maroon robe. His face is marked with wounds and blood. His head is crowned with thorns with three gold-plated metal rays on the top of his head, with his eyes looking up to heaven. The Black Nazarene devotion balances Christology from below and above, i.e., Christ does not remain crucified. Instead, he brings the hope of resurrection to those who fervently approach him with faith, hope, and love. It suffices to say that the Black Nazarene serves as a means for the Filipino faithful to encounter Christ in their lives. Given this, this paper aims to appraise the Black Nazarene Devotion as a means that contributes to the New Evangelization among Filipino Catholics. More specifically, this paper seeks to answer how the devotion to the Black Nazarene aids Filipino Catholics in their desire to sustain and grow in their faith amidst the crises and problems they are facing.

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