PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK

PNP ENSURES ORDERLY CELEBRATION OF BLACK NAZARENE FEAST


Jan 8 ---Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II assured the public yesterday that the Philippine National Police (PNP) has made necessary preparations to ensure the orderly celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene.
“This is the whole of PNP at work. Everyone is contributing to make sure that both petty and high-profile criminals will not take advantage of the celebration,” Roxas said. He said the PNP has begun mobilization of 3,500 of its personnel. The policemen were deployed at Quirino Grandstand, where the traditional pahalik (kissing the image) began at 4 a.m. yesterday. The policemen would be in their assigned deployment area an hour before procession starts at 7 a.m. today. Roxas said that the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) and the Manila Police District (MPD) have also been closely coordinating with each other as early as last December to effectively maintain peace and order during the annual celebration. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: 1 dead, 84 medically treated as Nazarene procession starts, as of January 9

 

Jan 9 ---File photo of the Black Nazarene procession. Joven Cagande
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED, 2 p.m.) - One devotee died while dozens more were treated for various medical conditions as the annual Black Nazarene procession started on Friday morning. In a phone-patch interview on ANC, Johnny Yu of the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction Office said a male devotee suffered a heart attack and was declared dead upon arrival at the Manila Doctors' Hospital. Citing reports, Yu said the man was on the carriage of the Black Nazarene. State-run Philippine News Agency reported that the casualty was identified as Renato Guryon, 44, a member of the Hijos Del Nazareno, a religious group securing the carriage. The report said Guryon suffocated to death when his chest got caught on the stainless railings of the carriage. READ FULL REPORT...

(ALSO) Black Nazarene procession: A mixture of chaos, devotion, display of deep religious fervor


JAN 10 ---Sea of devotees at Black Nazarene procession  ---
The religious fervor of Filipinos was once again displayed yesterday when more than five million barefoot devotees paraded the revered Black Nazarene, a centuries-old icon of Jesus Christ, through the streets of Manila ahead of Pope Francis’s visit to Asia’s bastion of Christianity. Not even the early morning drizzle dampened the spirits nor prevented the sea of devotees of the Nuestro Padre Hesus Nazareno from joining the grand Traslacion procession yesterday. In fervent display of devotion, huge crowds of men, women, and children chanted “Viva!” (Long live!) and twirled white handkerchiefs at the Black Nazarene, with some hurling themselves at the supposedly miraculous statue for good luck. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Look up to God in humility, look back and bow down to Him, Tagle tells Nazarene devotees


Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle on Friday urged the devotees of the Black Nazarene to turn to a life of humility and spirituality. “Look up to God, look back and bow down to Him. Let’s make it a pattern of life of spirituality,” Tagle said in his homily during the midnight Mass for the feast of Black Nazarene at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila. “A true devotee is one who look up, look back and bow down to God, knowing fully well that without Him, he is nothing,” he added. According to Tagle, looking up, looking back and bowing down to God are simple ways by which devotees could deepen their devotion to the highly revered black image of Christ that is believed to be miraculous. “Those who will look up to God will have an everlasting life, that’s the promise of the Gospel. The most beautiful way to look up is to look at God,” Tagle said in the vernacular. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Group protests devotion to Black Nazarene, devotees enraged


What the hell were they thinking? "Amid the crush of people in the Feast of the Black Nazarene procession, an evangelical group irked some devotees when they started their 'megaphone spiels' on how the religious image should not be worshipped," reports ABS-CBNnews.com. The report noted: "According to dzMM correspondent Dennis Datu, the evangelical group went all out on their megaphones to relay their message to devotees not to bow down, worship or serve man-made images."  The report revealed that this "angered some Nazarene devotees who then tore up the evangelical group's tarpaulin."  The encounter occurred near Maria Orosa Street in Manila.READ MORE...

ALSO: Devotee dies at end of Nazarene procession

 

Another devotee died in this year’s Feast of the Black Nazarene, bringing the number of fatalities to two, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) said yesterday.
PRC secretary-general Gwendolyn Pang said 18-year-old Christian Mhel Lim was found slumped on the pavement near a convenience store adjacent to the Quiapo Church just as the procession ended early yesterday. “Our staff attended to him but he was pulse-less so they rushed him to hospital,” Pang said. Lim, a resident of 139 Salvador St., Sta. Quiteria, Caloocan City, was pronounced dead on arrival at the Jose Reyes Memorial Hospital. Pang said Lim was observed to have bruises on his body. “The police are now investigating. The Black Nazarene committee will decide if they will declare his death as part of the event’s casualties,” she added. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: 4 Pinoys working for Pope Francis 


Capito, Aldea, Florencio Ramos, Jayson Ramos ---
VATICAN CITY – Thousands of people from different parts of the world visit Vatican City daily, hoping to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis. Four Filipinos have however been blessed with the opportunity not only to see the pope, but also to live and work inside the Vatican and serve him. Sister Ana Capito and Sister Rosalina Aldea, both from Quezon province, were assigned to the Vatican by the Missionary Catechist of St. Therese of the Child Jesus. They are tasked to assist Italian Cardinal Francesco Monterise. Sister Ana can never forget her first encounter with Pope Francis. He was walking down one of the hallways in the Vatican, and her first instinct was to hide. READ FULL REPORT'''


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

PNP ensures orderly celebration of Black Nazarene feast

MANILA, JANUARY 12, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Cecille Suerte Felipe - Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II assured the public yesterday that the Philippine National Police (PNP) has made necessary preparations to ensure the orderly celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene.

“This is the whole of PNP at work. Everyone is contributing to make sure that both petty and high-profile criminals will not take advantage of the celebration,” Roxas said.

He said the PNP has begun mobilization of 3,500 of its personnel.

The policemen were deployed at Quirino Grandstand, where the traditional pahalik (kissing the image) began at 4 a.m. yesterday.

The policemen would be in their assigned deployment area an hour before procession starts at 7 a.m. today.

Roxas said that the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) and the Manila Police District (MPD) have also been closely coordinating with each other as early as last December to effectively maintain peace and order during the annual celebration.

“Every year, millions of people from all walks of life participate in the festivities and we have to keep them safe from any harm,” he stressed.

In this light, the MPD has organized a task group responsible for the route security of the motorcade and parade, and crowd control and management. The task group has also begun clearing illegal vendors along the procession route, particularly along Plaza Miranda, Plaza Lacson and other areas surrounding Quiapo Church.

Anti-crime operations under Oplan Lambat-Sibat are also being conducted to pre-empt and deter criminal activities that might occur during the feast day.

NCRPO chief Director Carmelo Valmoria as well urged devotees to be extra careful as they target a lesser casualty figure for today’s activities.

Valmoria said that the injury figure in the previous Black Nazarene procession was high because of the devotees themselves, who resort to pushing each other to get near the carriage.

Valmoria said the main goal of the Church and the security committee for today’s activity is to reduce the number of injuries.

For his part, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said the city government is closely coordinating with Church leaders to ensure that no untoward incident would happen in today’s celebration.

Estrada, who remains undecided whether or not he would join the procession, advised devotees not to be unruly.

He said the city government is expecting no less than three million people in the procession today.

Change in procession route

A day before a multitude of devotees joins this year’s traslacion, Quiapo Church rector Monsignor Jose Clemente Ignacio Jr. announced yesterday that there would be a slight detour in the procession route.

Ignacio said that as result of the fire at the old Philippine National Bank (PNB) building located along Escolta, organizers have decided to use the parallel Dasmariñas street for the procession.

“The PNB building was already condemned in the past, then it caught fire so it is now very weak,” he said, citing Manila City administrator Ericson Alcovendraz had noted there could be falling debris.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino and Alcovendraz conducted a survey and decided that Dasmariñas street “is the best option.”

Officials also made sure that the carriage of the Black Nazarene would remain sturdy, so they attached forklift wheels to avoid previous incidents of flat tires.

Ignacio assured the public that the short concrete bridge at Dasmariñas could bear the weight of the Nazareno, its carriage and the devotees.

But he advised shops along Dasmariñas “to board up their glass windows because there is a chance these would be broken” during the expected mad scramble today, as devotees try to get a chance to touch the image of the Black Nazarene or pull the rope of its carriage.

Ignacio noted that the changes in route could mean longer procession time.

“Maybe this is one way for the Nazareno to tell us to make more sacrifices; after all we are preparing for the coming of Pope Francis and our country has experienced many calamities. We have to pray more,” he said. – Helen Flores, Jose Rodel Clapano, Victor Martin, Janvic Mateo, Non Alquitran, Cecille Suerte Felipe


FROM PHILSTAR

1 dead, 84 medically treated as Nazarene procession starts By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated January 9, 2015 - 10:38am 25 246 googleplus0 0


File photo of the Black Nazarene procession. Joven Cagande

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED, 2 p.m.) - One devotee died while dozens more were treated for various medical conditions as the annual Black Nazarene procession started on Friday morning.

In a phone-patch interview on ANC, Johnny Yu of the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction Office said a male devotee suffered a heart attack and was declared dead upon arrival at the Manila Doctors' Hospital.

Citing reports, Yu said the man was on the carriage of the Black Nazarene.

State-run Philippine News Agency reported that the casualty was identified as Renato Guryon, 44, a member of the Hijos Del Nazareno, a religious group securing the carriage.

The report said Guryon suffocated to death when his chest got caught on the stainless railings of the carriage.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, meanwhile, said in an 8 a.m. report that 84 people had been given medical treatment for various conditions: hypertension (66 devotees), abrasions (four), headache (three), toothache (two), arthritis, viral illness, asthma, musculoskeletal strain, ankle sprain, gastritis, laceration, puncture wound and infected wound.

Gwen Pang of the Philippine Red Cross also told ANC in an interview that 45 devotees sustained minor injuries while two others had major cases.


The Philippine Coast Guard released photos from an aerial surveillance of Friday's procession dedicated to the Black Nazarene, whose image attracts hundreds of thousands of barefoot devotees. About 550,000 people were estimated to have been present at the start of the procession at 6 a.m. in Manila's Quirino Grandstand, the Manila Police District reported.

The image of the Black Nazarene left the Quirino Grandstand at the Rizal Park past 8 a.m. and will reach Quiapo Church after the procession that is expected to last for more than 10 hours.

In a live television interview, Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno said about one million devotees arrived at the Quirino Grandstand for the start of the procession.

He said the crowd is expected to reach five million by noon.

Last year, the procession lasted about 19 hours and more than 1,600 sustained injuries.

Devotees believe the centuries-old black statue of Jesus Christ carrying a cross is a source of miraculous powers that could cure ailments and provide good health and fortune.

The major religious festival in the Philippines is also a prelude to a much larger turnout expected during next week's visit by Pope Francis. -with the Associated Press


FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Black Nazarene procession: A mixture of chaos, devotion, display of deep religious fervor by Christina I. Hermoso, Rachel Joyce Burce & AFP January 10, 2015 Share this:


SEA OF SOULS – A multitude of devotees accompany the image of the Black Nazarene from the Quirino Grandstand to the Quiapo Church in yesterday’s ‘traslacion,’ a Spanish term for a slow, deliberate, and careful transfer. As of mid-afternoon, more than five million devotees were reported to have joined the annual ritual on the streets of Manila. (Linus Guardian Escandor II and Ali Vicoy)

The religious fervor of Filipinos was once again displayed yesterday when more than five million barefoot devotees paraded the revered Black Nazarene, a centuries-old icon of Jesus Christ, through the streets of Manila ahead of Pope Francis’s visit to Asia’s bastion of Christianity.

Not even the early morning drizzle dampened the spirits nor prevented the sea of devotees of the Nuestro Padre Hesus Nazareno from joining the grand Traslacion procession yesterday.

In fervent display of devotion, huge crowds of men, women, and children chanted “Viva!” (Long live!) and twirled white handkerchiefs at the Black Nazarene, with some hurling themselves at the supposedly miraculous statue for good luck.

The procession, that was scheduled to start at around 6:30 a.m. after the Liturgy for Procession led by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park, was delayed for about two hours as throngs of devotees rushed to the carriage to throw their white towels and handkerchiefs to the direction of the revered icon. The mammoth crowd made it difficult for organizers to even attach the ropes, which serves as guide, to the carriage and in the process blocked its path.

The ropes were finally attached to the carriage at 8 a.m. upon the intervention of Msgr. Jose Clemente Ignacio, Quiapo Church rector and parish priest.

Slow start for Black Nazarene Procession

 
VIDEO URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTl514QiBf8

The Lord is my healer

“The Lord is my healer,” Lina Javal, 58, declared after waiting in line for hours to kiss the life-sized ebony statue, showing an AFP reporter the healed incision from throat surgery she underwent last month.

“It’s an extraordinary feeling, it’s like the Holy Spirit is entering my body,” said the clerk from nearby Laguna.

The mammoth procession, estimated by the Philippine Red Cross at 5.5 million people, crawled at a near-snail’s pace along Manila’s old quarter as devotees risked life and limb for the privilege of pulling the fat rope that moved the float forward.

City officials and the Philippine Red Cross said a man died from heart attack and more than 600 others were treated for various injuries as the crowd wriggled past trash-strewn streets in light rain and overcast skies.

The procession is expected to last well into the night.

“I pray that the Nazarene continues to watch over my grandson, that he is kept healthy,” laundrywoman Imelda Santiago, 62, told AFP.

She carried the two-year-old boy, who is blind in his right eye, to the parade, shielding him from the rain with a blanket.

Many Filipinos believe the statue holds miraculous healing powers and make lifetime vows to join the annual parade, often wearing T-shirts emblazoned with an image of Christ crowned in thorns.

“The brand of religious devotion that we see in Filipino Catholicism is based on a very strong desire of the majority of our people for a more immediate and direct access to divine help or power,” Manuel Victor Sapitula, a sociology professor at the University of the Philippines, told AFP.

“That is why it is sought through physical touch, sound, bodily experience, or any combination of these,” he added.

Construction worker Angelo Pamarca, 30, walked an hour to join the procession with his six-year-old daughter perched on his shoulders.

“I ask the Black Nazarene to forgive my many sins and give me strength to resist temptation,” Pamarca told AFP with a mischievous grin, declining to elaborate.

Aileen Amandy, 48, joined the parade with her teenage daughter to seek divine intervention in helping her children complete their studies.

“He always grants my prayers,” Amandy said, crediting the Black Nazarene with healing a son suffering from high fever and convulsions, and keeping another son, a policeman, safe from harm.

For the 57-year-old Riza Canonigo, who has been a devotee for more than 20 years, her annual participation in the feast of the Black Nazarene is a matter of thanking the Lord for His grace to her family. The distance from her place in Oriental Mindoro to Manila does not stop her from displaying her devotion.

“He never forsakes us. Every time the feast of Black Nazarene draws near, her family always finds ways to raise funds to their trip to Manila,” Riza said.

She disclosed that she was on the brink of death due to a heart enlargement sometime ago, but her belief in the Black Nazarene saved her.

Riza was just among the many who camped out in Quirino Grandstand since early Thursday until the Traslacion was held yesterday.

Miracle healing

Meanwhile, 60-year-old Loreta Morata from Cavite also said she’ll never get tired of attending the feast of Black Nazarene annually because it’s her way of giving back to Him for the miracles experienced by her family. She had been a devotee for 39 years now.

“My three children suffered different diseases. My eldest child had hydrocephalus when he was still a baby. After a year, my second child had leukemia. Few years later, the youngest had a heart enlargement,” Morata recalled.

“I never stopped praying to Him. In fact, I even fell asleep at Quiapo Church while praying fervently for the healing of my children. And he didn’t let me down because my children were all got healed,” Morata said.

In 2010, however, Loreta’s husband died on the day of “Pahalik sa Poong Nazareno.” He had a stage 4 lung cancer that was discovered late.

“He even accompanied me them to the Quirino Grandstand for the Pahalik. However, when he went home he had coughs and was taken to the hospital, where it was discovered that he had stage 4 lung cancer,” Morata said.

Though her husband died, she never put the blame on God or to Black Nazarene. She said that though it was hard at first, she knew that it was God’s will for her husband to rest already.

Morata said that her devotion to the Black Nazarene is also dedicated for her grandchildren.

“I keep on praying to Him to safeguard us always, especially my grandchildren and keep them away from any type of disease. In God’s grace, they are all healthy and very intelligent,” she said in Filipino.

Last year’s Traslacion procession took around 19 hours to reach Quiapo Church. With the delay yesterday, this year’s event may take longer to complete.

In the liturgy, Tagle called on devotees of the Black Nazarene to lead a life of “humility and spirituality.” “Tumingala kay Hesus, lumingon sa kanya at kasama niya yumuko. Ang tunay na deboto ay titingala sa kanya dahil alam niya, kung wala si Hesus, wala ako. Gawing pattern of life ang spirituality at humility. Hindi kayang maging merciful and compassionate ang tao na hindi kayang bumaba para makipagkapwa-tao,” the prelate said.

As in the past years, the procession moved in wave-like motion with the huge crowd of mostly barefoot devotees clad in maroon shirts scrambling to get near the anda or carriage to touch the ropes, believed to have healing powers. The procession commemorates the 408th Feast of the Traslacion or the transfer of the Black Nazarene image from the Recollect Church in Intramuros, Manila, to Quiapo Church in 1787.

Some female devotees in the crowd were allowed to help pull the ropes or to get on top of the carriage for a few minutes. Those who could not get near waved their white handkerchiefs or hurled their towels to the marshals guarding the Black Nazarene, and which in turn were thrown back to them after wiping them on the miraculous image of the Poong Nazareno.

With the theme “Espiritu ng Poong Jesus Nazareno, Awa at Malasakit ng Abang Simbahan,” many followed the slow moving procession chanting “Viva Senor!” and singing the “Ama Namin” (Our Father), while carrying replicas of the Black Nazarene and crucifixes.

At the Plaza Miranda in front of Quiapo Church, thousands of devotees patiently waited for the arrival of the Black Nazarene. A large crowd also attended masses at the church held by the hour from 3 a.m. to 12 noon and from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

But this year’s edition of the Black Nazarene procession could probably be the most painful to remember for the Hijos del Nazareno, the group of marshals in charge to protecting the miraculous image as well as putting order in the procession.

One of their members, 43-year-old Renato Gorion died, apparently after suffering a heart attack while atop the\carriage of the Black Nazarene yesterday.

He left behind Rhoda Lapuz, his 42-year-old woman companion, and two children.

“That is why Lapuz was hysterical,” Remedios Radasa, 59, a sister-on-law of the fatality told the Manila Bulletin as the family waited for the Manila Doctor’s Hospital to release the body.

(His death brings pain to the group as Rene is a very jolly person. He loves to crack jokes,” Sergio Lapuz Jr., one of the Hijos and a “batchmate” of the fatality, said.

Indian joins ‘Nazareno’

It takes no particular nationality to take part in the feast of the Black Nazarene.

Yesterday, Laxman Mehngarajani was seen giving out biscuits, chocolates, bottles of juice and water for free to devotees who flocked to the Quiapo Church yesterday in celebration of the feast of the Black Nazarene.

While the “Traslacion” was on P. Burgos Street, Manila, at 1 p.m. yesterday Mehngarajani was along Raon near the Quiapo Church doing his yearly vow to feed some of the devotees.

“I started giving food and water to the people six years ago,” Mehngarajani, a shy and a soft spoken man, said.

Mehngarajani has been residing in the Philippines since 1988 and has already learned the language and even the culture of our country.

“Parang tulong ko lang ‘yon at pagbabalik sa mga blessing ko, siyempre pagod sila, walang tubig, walang tsinelas (It’s a way of helping and giving back for all the blessings that I had received. They are tired, they have no water and slippers),” Mehngarajani said.

Mehngarajani said he does not ask for anything in return, he just wanted to help.

In the last six years, he would prepare packs of biscuits, chocolates, juices, and bottles of water the day before the feast.

He even paid for a whole bucket of “taho” so the devotees who were passing by the area can get some for free.

Mehngarajani said he would always received words like “good luck” and “thank you” from those people he had helped. (With reports from Rizal S. Obanil, Leslie Ann G. Aquino, Jenny F. Manongdo, and Betheena Kae Unite)


FROM THE INQUIRER

Look up to God in humility, look back and bow down to Him, Tagle tells Nazarene devotees Tina G. Santos @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:20 PM | Friday, January 9th, 2015

MANILA, Philippines–Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle on Friday urged the devotees of the Black Nazarene to turn to a life of humility and spirituality.

“Look up to God, look back and bow down to Him. Let’s make it a pattern of life of spirituality,” Tagle said in his homily during the midnight Mass for the feast of Black Nazarene at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila.

“A true devotee is one who look up, look back and bow down to God, knowing fully well that without Him, he is nothing,” he added.

According to Tagle, looking up, looking back and bowing down to God are simple ways by which devotees could deepen their devotion to the highly revered black image of Christ that is believed to be miraculous.

“Those who will look up to God will have an everlasting life, that’s the promise of the Gospel. The most beautiful way to look up is to look at God,” Tagle said in the vernacular.

“We look back to God who is the source of all our blessings. That is why many devotees are here year after year, rain or shine, barefoot, some are even in wheelchairs. They never forget, they look back to the giver of blessings and good experiences,” he added.

To bow down to God is a sign of humility, Tagle said.

“We are all sinners and to bow down to God is an admission of our sins. It’s like saying we cannot brag or boast about anything, except the fact that we need Him, that’s all,” he said.

“And to bow down is like imitating Jesus, who, despite being the son of God, humbled himself and became man to be with us. He carried our cross and died. That was his way of showing humility, all just because he loves us and he wanted to save us,” the cardinal said.

He stressed that people cannot be merciful and compassionate if they cannot be humble. “Hindi kayang maging mahabagin at mapagmalasakit ang taong napakatayog ng tingin sa sarili. Hindi kayang maging merciful and compassionate ang tao na hindi kayang bumaba para makipagkapwa-tao.”

“Let this be a challenge to all of us–look up, look back and bow down to God. And may we be able to do this to honor our beloved Jesus of Nazarene and help others especially those who have less or nothing in life, those who are in need most of our mercy and compassion,” Tagle said.


BLOGGED: COCONUTSMANILA.COM

Group protests Black Nazarene feast, devotees enraged By Coconuts Manila January 9, 2015 / 20:55 PHT

What the hell were they thinking?

"Amid the crush of people in the Feast of the Black Nazarene procession, an evangelical group irked some devotees when they started their 'megaphone spiels' on how the religious image should not be worshipped," reports ABS-CBNnews.com.

The report noted: "According to dzMM correspondent Dennis Datu, the evangelical group went all out on their megaphones to relay their message to devotees not to bow down, worship or serve man-made images."

The report revealed that this "angered some Nazarene devotees who then tore up the evangelical group's tarpaulin."

The encounter occurred near Maria Orosa Street in Manila.

CONTRAST BETWEEN FAITH AND SIN, HAPPINESS AND SADNESS ........

This year's procession of the Black Nazarene took about 17 hours to finish. It started 6am Friday morning at the Quirino Grandstand and ended at about 3am Saturday morning at Quiapo Church.

An estimated 5 million people were in attendance, with one devotee dying very early in the procession.

Several more were reportedly injured, while miracle stories — like this one about a mother finding her son who's been lost since July — and strange sightings make the Feast of the Black Nazareno an always-interesting event.

"What struck me during the procession was the contrast between faith and sin, happiness and sadness, poverty, hope, and prayer," photographer Geloy Concepcion, a long-time devotee who has an ongoing project on the Black Nazarene, says.

Below are some interesting things he saw during the procession:

Photos: Geloy Concepcion, COCONUTS MANILA DOT CO


FROM PHILSTAR

Devotee dies at end of Nazarene procession By Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 11, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Another devotee died in this year’s Feast of the Black Nazarene, bringing the number of fatalities to two, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) said yesterday.

PRC secretary-general Gwendolyn Pang said 18-year-old Christian Mhel Lim was found slumped on the pavement near a convenience store adjacent to the Quiapo Church just as the procession ended early yesterday.

“Our staff attended to him but he was pulse-less so they rushed him to hospital,” Pang said.

Lim, a resident of 139 Salvador St., Sta. Quiteria, Caloocan City, was pronounced dead on arrival at the Jose Reyes Memorial Hospital.

Pang said Lim was observed to have bruises on his body.

“The police are now investigating. The Black Nazarene committee will decide if they will declare his death as part of the event’s casualties,” she added.

According to Inspector Steve Casimiro, Manila Police District homicide section chief, doctors said Lim died from “traumatic injuries.”

The first casualty, 44-year-old Renato Gurion suffered a heart attack shortly after they left Quirino Grandstand to start the procession.

Gurion is a member of the Hijos del Nazareno, assigned by the church to secure the Nazarene during the procession.

Quiapo Church rector Monsignor Jose Clemente Ignacio Jr. condoled with the families of the two casualties.

“I am very saddened that something like this happened and we are expressing our sympathy to the family. One of them was even close to us because he is a servant of the Church,” Ignacio said.

Ignacio added the Quiapo church is willing to lend assistance to Lim’s family.

Ignacio also noted reports of some devotees getting electrocuted. He said the Quiapo Church would verify this information.

“Once the procession organizers have rested, I would call for a review so that we would know what really happened,” he said.

He said the start of the procession, when devotees rush toward the image of the Black Nazarene and get the opportunity to be among the first to pull the rope of the carriage, is among the “critical areas” where a lot of people would get hurt.

The entrance of Quiapo Church is also considered a critical area since the large crowd of devotees would have to squeeze into the limited space of the main door.

Despite reports of two casualties and more than a thousand injured, Ignacio said the number of injuries was lower compared to last year.

“I have not seen the final report. But the crowd is bigger this year,” he said. – Evelyn Macairan, Mike Frialde. Aie Balagtas See


FROM PHILSTAR

4 Pinoys working for Pope Francis By Carla Lim, TV5 correspondent (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 11, 2015 - 12:00am 3 7 googleplus0 0


Capito, Aldea, Florencio Ramos, Jayson Ramos

VATICAN CITY – Thousands of people from different parts of the world visit Vatican City daily, hoping to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis. Four Filipinos have however been blessed with the opportunity not only to see the pope, but also to live and work inside the Vatican and serve him.

Sister Ana Capito and Sister Rosalina Aldea, both from Quezon province, were assigned to the Vatican by the Missionary Catechist of St. Therese of the Child Jesus.

They are tasked to assist Italian Cardinal Francesco Monterise.

Sister Ana can never forget her first encounter with Pope Francis. He was walking down one of the hallways in the Vatican, and her first instinct was to hide.

“I hid because I know that when the pope is passing, one should not just go and approach him. I didn’t know if I should hide or walk away quickly, but while I was confused about what to do, the pope suddenly greeted me with, ‘How are you sister?’ So I came nearer and kissed his hand,” Sister Ana recounted.

According to Sister Rosalina, Pope Francis loves to walk from his home at Santa Marta to his office at the Apostolic Residence, more than a hundred meters away.

She said the pontiff lives a simple life, living what he preaches, especially humility.

“That’s how he is; it’s as if he always coaxes you to get out of yourself for others,” Sister Rosalina said.

A Filipino migrant worker, on the other hand, has the task of cleaning the pope mobile.

Florencio Ramos Jr. has served three popes for the past 20 years – Pope John Paul II, then Pope Benedict XVI who resigned in 2013 and is now called Pope Emeritus, and Pope Francis.

Florencio considers his job as a huge blessing. That is why he was overwhelmed when he realized that Pope Francis appreciated his work.

After Super Typhoon Yolanda struck the Philippines, Florencio received an invitation from Pope Francis asking him to attend the Holy Mass he was going to celebrate in Santa Marta.

“That was truly a surprise for me; we never thought we’d get the chance to get that invitation from the pope,” he recounted.

Florencio is still thrilled reminiscing the moment. He attended the mass wearing his maintenance uniform. After the mass, he got the chance to meet Pope Francis and convey his prayer intentions, focusing on the victims of Yolanda.

Florencio recalled saying in Italian, “Pope, please pray for the Philippines after that disaster.” Pope Francis replied, “yes, I will; and that tragedy in the Philippines pains me.”

Just like Florencio, his son Jayson, 23, works in the Vatican while studying Linguistics. His part-time duty is to control tourists visiting St. Peter’s Basilica.

When Jayson was still five, Pope John Paul II blessed him while his father carried him at a mass.

For these four Filipinos, serving the pope is a blessing beyond compare. Now that Pope Francis will be visiting the Philippines for the first time, they are happy beyond words that their countrymen will experience the same blessings that they felt just by being with the pope.

They wish and pray that Pope Francis will inspire Filipinos to unite in faith.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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