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Black Nazarene gets home in Northern Samar

CATARMAN (SE): The St. Rock the Healer Mission Centre located in Barangay Cawayan on the outskirts of Catarman in Northern Samar was elevated to the level of Diocesan Shrine of Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno on September 12 at a Mass celebrated by Luis Cardinal Tagle.

CBCP News reported that the dedication and blessing is the first of its kind in the diocese.

It means that from now on, there is no need to make the arduous trip to Quiapo in Quezon City to venerate the Black Nazarene, as a replica of the famous statue is now enshrined at St. Rock the Healer.

Monsignor Clemente Ignacio, a former rector at Quiapo, entrusted the revered statue to the diocese of Catarman in response to an ardent request that the popular Black Nazarene of Quiapo devotion would be extended to the area.

The new shrine has been an immediate success, as people from far and wide have begun to flock to the small chapel, especially on Fridays for the celebration of the holy Eucharist.

The sick and the lame prayerfully approach the sacred replica or write their petitions, which are dropped in a box near the image.

On January 9 last year, during the annual celebration in Quiapo, the first synchronised Mass and celebration of the Traslacion was held in Cawayan, when the image was transferred from a small chapel to the unfinished church of St. Rock, located on the highway near the University of Eastern Philippines.

The university hosted a fundraising concert held by the Christ the King College Youth Symphony Orchestra for the construction of the church at the Mission Centre in December 2011.

In less than a year, devotion to the Black Nazarene has grown to match the intense fervour enjoyed by the original image in Quiapo.

Father Rico Manook, the first and current administrator of the mission centre, acknowledged the intensity of devotion and piety to the Black Nazarene and said that visitor numbers have doubled in one year.

The statue made a tour of several parishes where it was welcomed with prayer vigils and Masses.

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