Mary, key to true devotion to ‘Black Nazarene’

Mary, key to true devotion to ‘Black Nazarene’

Fr. Melvin Castro celebrates Mass. LAWRENCE VIDANES

TARLAC – As millions of devotees begin to congregate in Manila for the “Quiapo fiesta” on Jan. 9, the pastor of a parish dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows said the faithful should turn to Holy Mary as the key to true devotion to the “Black Nazarene”.

“Mel Gibson’s movie (The Passion of Christ) gave us a vivid presentation of Christ’s agony and death with equally moving scenes were when Christ fell carrying the Cross followed by the flashback when he was a little boy falling down. And in both instances, His Mother was there to assist Him,” said Fr. Melvin Castro, parish priest of Our Lady of Sorrows, in Capas, Tarlac.

The priest pointed out that it is only in Jesus through Mary can the faithful fathom the mystery of human suffering, of which the Nazareno has become a face. “There is a deeper meaning why there is human suffering. In gazing the ‘Suffering Servant of YHWH’, we glimpse – in the words of Pope St. John Paul – the redemptive meaning of human suffering. We realize that we suffer for some noble purpose.”

Understanding suffering through Mary

The priest illustrated the Virgin Mary’s identification with the suffering Jesus in the contemplation of the Sorrowful mysteries of the Holy Rosary or by recalling the movie The Passion of Christ wherein Mary’s co-redemptive role was prominently portrayed.

“…in an earlier scene when Christ was imprisoned in a dungeon and he looked up. And there on the street was His Mother, prostrated on the ground reaching out to her Son … And finally, when Christ’s dead body was laid on the lap of Mary, she enigmatically looks at those watching the film,” explained Castro.

In looking at Jesus Christ through Mary, he concluded, the faithful see the “why” of human suffering.

“Not that people are being punished. While asking for God’s graces, we learn from Mary to endure and offer up our sufferings; to be patient in the truest sense of the word, ‘patior’ – to endure suffering, added Castro.

Bringing the ‘Black Nazarene’ closer to the people

According to the priest, the Blessed Virgin’s sharing in Christ’s suffering helped obtain salvation for sinners.

He said, “We ask the ‘Nazareno’ that we be alleviated from poverty, healed from our infirmities, restored from broken relationships… and it is Holy Mary, who as Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix, in sharing in the agony and in the passion of her Son, cooperated for our redemption.”

The former executive secretary of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life said millions of Filipinos are able to relate with the “suffering image” of the Black Nazarene because everyone goes through suffering. It is in the Black Nazarene that the faithful see Christ, “like us,” bearing the Cross.

Our Lady of Sorrows Parish church houses a replica of the Black Nazarene, a gift from the Quiapo Basilica for the purpose of making the image available for veneration by the faithful of Central Luzon.

The parish will hold a procession of the Black Nazarene on Jan. 9 at 4:00 p.m., starting from the oldest barangay and ending at the parish church with a Eucharistic celebration. CBCPNews