From Asia News:
Manila (AsiaNews) – More than 800,000 Catholics flocked to the streets of central Manila this morning to take part in the traditional procession of the Black Nazarene, a century-old wooden statue of Christ. Every year, the translation of the sacred sculpture from its original site – the church of St. Nicholas from Tolentino – to the parish of Quiapo concludes a novena (December 31-January 9) and sees the participation of millions of faithful gathered in prayer, to ask a personal grace or miracle.
In the Philippines, over 82% of the 105 million people are Catholics. Among the celebrations of a religious nature, the procession of the “Black Nazarene” is one of the most famous and popular. The statue of the Black Nazarene represents Jesus bent under the weight of the Cross. It was brought to Manila by an Augustinian Spanish priest in 1607 on board a ship from Mexico. According to tradition, the boat caught fire during the journey, but the image of Christ miraculously escaped the fire taking on the black color. The procession recalls the first movement of the statue, which took place on January 9th 1767.