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The Philippines has a lot of religious events, but the biggest and the most notable religious gathering in the country is the celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene. Also known as Traslacion (a Spanish term which refers to “passage” or “movement”), the annual procession that started in 1767 commemorates the transfer of the arrival of the black image of Jesus Christ from San Nicolas de Tolentino in Intramuros to the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo.

Although we’re a predominantly Catholic country, millennials and the Gen-Zs are not expected to join this tradition. But Ivy Lopez, a 19-year-old first year Civil Engineering student of Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP), has been participating/volunteering for the annual celebration since 2012. She’s also a graduate and loyalty awardee of The Nazarene Catholic School, the school of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene. Before serving tomorrow, we got the chance to talk to Ivy. Here, she tells us how she started joining the religious event.

When did you start participating?

I’ve been participating for 7 years, since I was a grade 6 student. I am serving either as a lector, choir, or a prayer leader in the prayer station. I’ll be a commentator and one of the volunteers who will monitor this year’s Traslacion at the command center.

Ivy with some of the volunteers at the Quiapo Church

What urged you to join?

I couldn’t serve in the Traslacion if it wasn’t for my Alma Mater, The Nazarene Catholic School and the Silpeace Club Manila. They gave me the chance to serve Him. My willingness to serve the Lord and to thank Him for all the blessings and guidance urged me to join. I would also like to show my faith by doing the best that I could in either proclaiming His words by singing hymns of praise or monitoring the whole event. I’ve seen it from the television before, but it’s different when you experienced it.

What are the things you need to prepare before the Traslacion?

As a preparation, I am coordinating with different leaders in our school and the Basilica. I’m also practicing how  I can deliver His word with feelings and great delivery. I want them not only to listen, but also to understand and feel what He really wants to tell us.

Ivy with some of the volunteers

How does the Black Nazarene strengthen your faith?

All of my prayers have been granted and we’re always complete as a family ever since I started joining. We are all in good health and He’s always there to guide us in our everyday lives. The Black Nazarene strengthens my faith by letting me feel His presence in my life. The image that always give me hope and reminds me that no matter how rough things are, just look up in the sky, pray, and don’t give up, because He is always with us and will always be there for us.

Until when do you plan joining the celebration?

As long as I could and as long as He still wants me to serve Him.

What are your prayers for this year?

My prayers for this year is all about thanksgiving and guidance.

As a devotee, what’s the most important thing you learned in joining this religious gathering?

I’ve learned to understand that faith is the reason why millions of Filipinos chose to be in that vast sea of people. No matter what role we all portray in this event, we can see and feel the Lord. I considered myself blessed in serving Him for 7 years because as the theme of the Traslacion 2019 states, I am one of those “Hinirang at pinili upang maging lingkod Niya

Header image from Ivy Cruz and Manila Bulletin


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