Over 5 million devotees went to take part in the barefoot procession for the celebration of the Black Nazarene’s feast this Manila Friday.
The mammoth procession, estimated by the Philippine Red Cross at 5.5 million people, was attended by devotees tried to get closer to the image as part of belief that getting in contact with the image of the Black Nazarene would have their prayers be answered.
Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno reported the crowd was at more than five million but the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council estimated it could be more than nine million, according to GMA News’ 24 Oras.
As unexpected tragedy was seen inseparable with translacion, a member of Hijos del Nazareno died of heart attack while escorting the image of the Black Nazarene in Rizal Park.
Manila Disaster Risk Reduction Officer Johhny Yu said that Renato Burion, 44, had a heart attack and was rushed to the Manila Doctors Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.
He added that, it took 15 minutes for the official escorts of the image to remove the devotee from the top of the carriage.
Three men are reportedly arrested after setting off firecrackers near devotees. While a teen suffered broken ribs when he was crushed by devotees climb railings towards the image.
Even the marshalls were not spared from having injuries.
Many also suffered cuts on their feet, especially those who walked barefoot.
The Philippine Red Cross reports more 1,500 people got ill or injured amid the Black Nazarene procession. 876 had high blood pressure, while 564 had injuries, lacerations, or felt dizzy.
Four were brought to hospitals.
Amidst the celebration, religious groups clashed
Evangelical christian group protested that devotees should communicate with God instead of worshiping statues. This prompted tension between two different christian denominations.
The clash ceased after the protesters left the place.
“Dry run for papal visit’
According to Manila city mayor Joseph Estrada, this celebration will be their dry run for crowd control and other security preparations for Pope Francis’ visit from January 15 to 19.
The Pope is scheduled to stay at the Apostolic Nunciature, during his stay in the country.
Millions of people are also expected to attend the Pope’s scheduled mass at the Quirino Grandstand.
This afternoon, evangelical christian group and devotees of the Black Nazarene heated a discussion about the ridiculous claim of former that “catholics worship statues” , Manila Bulletin reported.
Equipped with megaphone and paraphernalias, the group stands in their belief that christian should communicate with God instead of worshipping statues.
Participants in the feast of the Black Nazarene drew rage about the speaker’s offensive sentiments against their belief which led to drive them out the area.
“Unang una, ang pinapangaral niya masama raw kaming sumamba sa rebulto. Kami lehitimo, lalo ako isinilang ako katoliko. Hindi ako sumasamba pero patnubay ko ang Hesus Nazareno,” a faithul Nazarene believer belted out.
The group was dismayed by the maltreatment they got from devotees saying, “Wala kaming ginagawa. Kami ay nagsasabi ng katotohanan. Nasa bibliya, okay lang sa’min papaalisin nila kami ‘wag lang nila kaming gagamitan ng dahas.”
The incident gained different views among the netizens.
Evangelical christian Leo Panlilio commented that what his co-brothers did was an act of rudeness and argument like this must be brought in proper venue.
According to one of the protesters, no matter how different the beliefs the different christian denominations are they are all worshiping one God.