January 9, 2014, was the feast of the Black Nazarene. One of the activities for the occasion was a procession. Although it looked like rain, many devotees gathered at the road where the procession of the Black Nazarene would start. At about 3 pm as the carriage of the Black Nazarene was brought on the highway, police neophytes locked arms around it to prevent people from jostling into the Black Nazarene. There were police officers, village police and traffic administrators who accompanied the procession so that it would progress orderly and safely.
There were already a large number of people who followed the Black Nazarene at the starting point of the procession. The mass of people swelled as other devotees who were waiting along the road for the carriage to pass by joined those who had already followed it. In the main thoroughfares the number of devotees increased even more so that it was difficult for one to get past other people in the midst of the multitude. The size of the crowd was overwhelming.
In the course of the procession, some devotees shouted “Viva Señor Jesus Nazareno”. Others were praying the rosary, and still others tossed small towels into the carriage. Towels were caught by the escorts by the hands and wiped them on the sculpture. The escorts then tossed back the towels to their owners. Devotees believe that towels or other objects that are rubbed on the Black Nazarene would have healing or miraculous powers.
It seemed that the weather cooperated with the devotees throughout the procession. The sky was cloudy when the procession was about to start. However, it never rained in the afternoon or in the evening and even until the procession reached and ended at the Jesus of Nazareth Parish Church at about 7 pm.
In Cagayan de Oro it was estimated that the number of people who attended or witnessed the procession was about 100,000. This is a very small number compared to that of Manila whose number of attendance to the similar procession was estimated at about 3 million people.
The number of people who voluntarily attended the religious procession is an indication of the strong devotion to the Roman Catholic faith by many Filipinos. Despite the challenges faced by the church, many Catholics remain loyal to their faith for good reasons. Roman Catholicism is one of the oldest and original Christian Churches that is founded by Saint Peter himself who was an apostle of Jesus Christ.