THOUSANDS JOIN ANNUAL CATHOLIC PROCESSION IN MANILA

Light of truth

Hundreds of thousands of people have thronged the streets of Manila to fling themselves at a statue of Jesus Christ as it inched its way through the Philippine capital in an annual procession that is one of the world’s biggest shows of Catholic devotion.

The faithful gathered before dawn on Jan 9 to catch a glimpse of the statue as it was wheeled on a metal float along a seven kilometre route through the city.

They believe touching the religious icon known as the Black Nazarene, or simply being in its presence, can heal the sick or deliver good fortune. Police said at least 800,000 people were in the crowd.

“I survived a stroke because of him (God),” 70-year-old Joaquin Bordado, who has attended the procession for decades, told the AFP news agency. “I will do this every year until I am 100 years old.”

Around him, the crowd, mostly walking barefoot as a sign of penitence, chanted “Viva Nazareno” (Long live Nazarene) and jostled for a glimpse of, or selfie with, the statue cloaked in a maroon robe that is topped with a crown of thorns and cross.

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