President Rodrigo Duterte joined the Catholic faithful in celebrating the annual feast of the Black Nazarene and urged devotees to fervently pray for the country.
In his message, Duterte said his administration deeply empathizes with the faith of Nazarene devotees who “resort to sacrifice every single day, while still finding a piece of themselves to honor God.”
“We are neither exhausted by praying constantly nor do we ever falter in expressing our religious fervor. Despite the passage of time, we relentlessly fight against injustice and lies; abuse of power; and the corruption that eats up the soul,” he said.
The President acknowledged that God’s image was recognized in the Nazarene, who “carried his cross to redeem the rest of humankind.”
“In His tears, we see our sorrow; and in His agony, we find our solace and strength to triumph against the most insurmountable odds,” he said.
Duterte also recognized the faith of millions of devotees in the form of “gratitude, petition, and sacrifice.”
“Good fortunes are usually borne out of hard work and perseverance. Prayers are likely answered because we do not give up or get tired from asking God for the fulfillment of our heart’s desires. Such is the phenomenal expression of faith of the millions of devotees in the form of gratitude, petition, and sacrifice shown in the image of the Black Nazarene every feast day on the 9th of January every year,” he said. Catherine Valente