Every year, a Mass is celebrated before the start of the Traslacion or the procession of the Black Nazarene. This year, the Holy Mass was presided by Monsignor Hernando Coronel, parish priest and rector of Quiapo Church. Cardinal Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, served as the homilist and gave the final blessing.
During his homily, Cardinal Tagle started by asking the audience to join him in praying for peace—especially with the rising tension between the United States and Iran. “Harinawa, ‘wag mauwi sa giyera o sa digmaan. Ipanalangin po natin na maging ligtas ang ating kapwa sa Middle East. Humupa ang mga hangarin na maghiganti,” Tagle says. He also asked the devotees to pray for the families of OFWs in the Middle East who must be worried sick about their relatives, and asked them to join him in a moment of silence.
Aside from peace, Cardinal Tagle also reminded devotees about the theme of this year’s Traslacion which is “Iba’t-ibang kaloob, iisang debosyon, tungo sa iisang misyon.” He shares that Jesus Christ of Nazareth—which the Black Nazarene represents—has always been devoted to His mission on earth and He didn’t simply do it because He was obligated to do so.
“Hindi misyon ni Hesus and magpahamak. Ang Kanyang misyon, magkaroon ng buhay na walang hanggan ng sanlibutan… Hindi kapahamakan kundi buhay, hindi kaparusahan kundi pagliligtas,” Tagle added in reference to Jesus Christ’s Passion.
Before the final blessing by Cardinal Tagle, Monsignor Coronel gave a farewell message for the cardinal, who will be leaving for Vatican soon. This comes after the Manila archbishop’s appointment as the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. The congregation is one of nine offices in the Pope’s ‘cabinet’.