Mar. 23, 2023 01:36 PM
“Black Nazarene: Devotion and Discourse” books during its launching after the first National Research Forum (Photo by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
Quiapo Church launched its first-ever book journal, “Black Nazarene: Devotion and Discourse,” on March 14, 2023, the fruit of the first National Research Forum on the Black Nazarene held last year. This, so far, is the first theological research forum being organized outside the seminaries, convents, or theological schools. Quiapo Church, known for its pastoral initiative, finally took a step to venture into this academic pursuit.
The book comprises 16 articles with 261 pages written by Catholic scholars from various Catholic institutions, with a keynote address from H.E. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Prefect of the Congregation for Evangelization of Peoples in Rome: The first three articles of the book (1) “Limang Daang Taon ng Paglakad ng Bayan Kasama ang Poong Hesus Nazareno” by Pro. Michael Charleston “Xiao” B. Chua (Ph.D. Cand.) & Prof. Lars Ubaldo, Ph.D., (2) “Maka-Diyos at Maka-Sambayanang Pamamanata sa Nazareno” by Mr. Wilson Angelo G. Espiritu, STL, M.A. (Adv.), and (3) “Understanding Catholicism in a Shared Space for Religious Practices: An Analysis of Performing Sacred Vow to Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno of Quiapo” by Prof. Mark Iñigo M. Tallara, Ph. D., served as the plenary lecturers of the Nazareno studies last year.
The twelve other scholarly written articles are the research discourses: (4) “Bato Balani sa Quiapo” by Mr. Erickson S. Javier, D.Min, (5) “Ang Nobena sa Nazareno: “Pinagpahayagan at Nagpapahayag ng Ebanghelyo” by Michael P. Delos Reyes, MA Th-Stud., (6) “The Way of Contemplation: ‘The Greatest is Love‘ (1 Cor.13)” by Fr. Jose Mari V. Manzano, SJ, MA, (7) “Paradox and Distance: The Black Nazarene as Eikon for Devotee During Covid 19 Pandemic” by Rev. Fr. Earl Alysson P. Valdez, MA Th-Stud., (8) “Poderoso: Power, Place, and Performance of Popular Devotion to the Black Nazarene” by Mr. John Valiant Jordan, (9) “The Difficulties and Challenges of our Devotion to the Suffering Christ in the Black Nazarene” by Prof. Michael Demeretus H. Asis, Ph.D., (10) “The Historical Development of Shrines in Honor of the Black Nazarene in the Philippines” by Bro. Kendrick Ivan B. Panganiban, MA Th., M.A. P.M., (11) “Photography as Panata: Raymond Gappi’s Black Nazarene Oeuvre” by Mr. Jose Alain Austria, MA, (12) “Bakit Maitim ang Mahal na Poong Hesus Nazareno?” by Prof. Fernando Nakpil-Zialcita, Ph. D., (13) “Gender, Catholic Social Teaching, and COVID-19 in the Philippines: Analyzing the Social Solidarity of Women Devotees in two Black Nazarene Facebook Group” by Bro. Vivencio O. Ballano, Ph.D. & Bro. Raul Roland Sebastian, Ph.D., (14) “Traslacion at Hilot: Hulagway ng Kagalingang Hatid ni Hesus” by Bro. Paul Mark Andres, MA Th, (15) “From Calvary to Calvary: The Continuing Persecution of the Nazarene” by Mr. Christopher P. Grajo, MA.
Paper presenters, scholars, Quiapo Church clergy and staff and other guests during the launching of the Nazareno Studies Book 1 (Photos by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
As the number of people who worship the Black Nazarene at the annual Traslacion on January 9 continues to grow, so does the attention of the mainstream media, which often focuses on how the seemingly fanatical tradition causes chaos among the sea of people rather than how it touches the hearts of the devotees who worship the Black Nazarene. Thus, this “Black Nazarene: Devotion and Discourse” book intends to present a more scholarly work to answer various lingering questions about the devotion to the Black Nazarene.
“Fides Quarens Intellectum“ or “Faith seeking understanding“, as quoted from St. Anselm by Mr. Christopher P. Grajo, MA, is indeed necessary for the continuous pursuit of understanding the heart of the devotion among the faithful. Prof. Michael Charleston “Xiao” Chua furtherly explained that the primary role of the researcher is to give back to the devotees by helping them understand better their devotion, as well as educate those who often question the ways and expressions of the devotees and eventually, along the process, they may be able to see the goodness and beauty of each faith’s experience as a perfect example of turning such situation into ‘kairos’ as Bro. Michael P. Delos Reyes, MA Th, termed it in his testimonies during the book journal’s launch.
For this reason, Rev. Fr. Earl Allyson Valdez, Attached Priest of Quiapo Church, hopes that this endeavor becomes the start of the growing scholarly work toward a better understanding, involvement, and service to the Church in moving forward like the Poong Hesus Nazareno who carries the cross while looking up above, yet remains his body grounded on the direction of fulfilling the will of God—furthermore, Bro. Erickson S. Javier, D Min, urges his fellow scholars and contributors that this endeavor may not only turn out to be an arena for the clashing of ideas and reasons to outdo one another, but also allow researchers to penetrate the hearts and souls of the devotees, so they may be able to get closer to the Black Nazarene.
Finally, as a sign of gratitude, the Quiapo Church, led by Rev. Fr. Rufino “Jun” C. Sescon, Jr., Rector and Parish Priest, presented the plaques of appreciation, certificates, and copies of books to all the contributors of the Nazareno studies. He then also concluded the program with closing remarks expressing his support to continue the endeavor, especially now that the Quiapo Church is in the process of applying to become a National Shrine and, consequently, be considered every January 9 as a national feast in honor of the Black Nazarene in the Catholic Church in the Philippines.
– Alfrein Quirionez | EIAM & ADRM
Launching of the Nazareno Studies Book 1 (Photos by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)