Quantcast
Connect with us

Christ’s bodyguards: the men protecting the Philippines’ revered Catholic icon

Published

on

Frenzied crowds, exhaustion and blazing heat were dangers bearing down on the cadre of guards who shield one of the Philippines’ most revered Catholic icons from the believers desperate to touch it.

The protectors served as human shields on Thursday, as they do every year, during the procession through Manila of the historic statue of Jesus Christ that believers say grants miracles to those who touch it.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Our safety is at risk here. Some of the devotees are very aggressive,” Steve Celestino, one of the Black Nazarene icon’s guards, told AFP Tuesday at a warm-up procession.

The dangers are not theoretical: during the day-long procession temperatures hover at around 32 degrees Celsius (90 Fahrenheit) and hundreds of thousands of believers clamber over one another to reach the statue.

In 2015 a guard belonging to one of the groups collectively called “hijos” (sons) suffered a fatal heart attack surrounded by sweaty devotees.

Miracles attributed to the Black Nazarene have made it powerfully revered in Asia’s bastion of Catholicism, and also engendered a class of admirers desperate to reach it.

“There are two types of faithful: one is a devotee and another is a fanatic,” guard Romy Roxas, who said he had been protecting the Nazarene from the latter for 30 years, told AFP on Tuesday.

ADVERTISEMENT

– ‘You’ll faint in this crowd’ –

Fanatics, he said, clamber up the metal float carrying the life-size statue hoping to snatch a strand of its hair or a piece of its maroon cloak in the belief that it has healing powers.

Guards have to push off the unruly, including those who cling to the statue’s cross for too long and risk damaging the several hundred year old wooden statue.

ADVERTISEMENT

It is a trying job for the hundreds of volunteers, who are stationed on the float a few dozen at a time and for a couple of hours at most due to the brutal conditions.

They are not necessarily security professionals, but rather Catholics in good standing with the Church who offer to help and attend preparatory meetings.

ADVERTISEMENT

In exchange for the pain, they play a privileged role by catching and then wiping the statue with white towels thrown to them by people in the crowd.

For believers, those swathes of cloth are just as good as touching the effigy itself, and bear healing or blessing effects.

Jongco, 73, is one of the oldest members of the group and attributed his well-being to his service to the Black Nazarene.

ADVERTISEMENT

“If you are not in good health, you will faint doing this because of the massive crowd,” he said. “But I’ll do it as long as I can.”


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

CNN

‘Gaslighting on a massive scale’: Doctor warns Trump is lying us into a COVID disaster

Published

on

On CNN Friday, Dr. Celine Grounder tore into President Donald Trump's ongoing falsehoods about the coronavirus pandemic.

"No matter how many times public health officials, especially like Anthony Fauci, speak the truth, what does it do, Doctor, when the president continues to lie to the public in face of a public health crisis?" asked anchor Kate Bolduan.

"This is gaslighting on an enormous scale, and means until people eventually get sick or their family members get sick, the communities hit hard, they won't believe it, and then it will be too late," said Grounder. "The problem is there's a lag period from the time that somebody's infected and starts to develop symptoms a couple days later. We don't see people get severely sick and need to be hospitalized and in ICUs until a week into disease, and talking about probably one to two weeks of lag time from the time somebody's exposed at least before you start to see hospitalizations and then another couple weeks before you start to see deaths."

Continue Reading

2020 Election

Republicans ‘anxious’ as campaign aides observe ‘a sudden alertness’ in Trump that he is losing: report

Published

on

Republican are growing increasingly worried about President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, according to a new report in Politico.

“I’d say Republicans are feeling anxious, and there’s a real sense of urgency for the president to precisely define his second term agenda. What are we running on? His answers on that have been lacking and he needs to show people why he wants four more years,” Scott Jennings, a top political adviser in the George W. Bush White House, told the publication.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Trump campaign spokesperson pushes Mt. Rushmore meme that adds president to monument

Published

on

Would adding President Donald Trump to the famous Mt. Rushmore monument to four of  America's greatest president's make it better?

A spokesperson and Trump re-election campaign "Rapid Response" official seems to think so.

Just hours before President Trump is set to travel to South Dakota's famous 60-foot tall 80-year old carving, Abigail Marone posted a widely-circulated meme of the 45th President's image, not only added to Mt. Rushmore, but in front of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln.

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image