The First National Conference on the Black Nazarene was held virtually on March 16 to 17, 2022, hosted by the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene (Quiapo Church).
The lead convenor, Msgr. Hernando Coronel, Ph.D., Rector and Parish Priest of the Quiapo Church, was assisted by a volunteer team from UST: Prof. Felicidad Galang-Perena, Ed.D., Prof. Roberto D. Ampil, Ph.D., Prof. Luciana Lopez-Urquiola, Ph.D. , Assoc. Prof. Jeanette Perez-Grajo, Ph.D. and Asst. Prof. Christine Ivy Alarcon-Nogot. The UST team worked with the combined staff of the basilica and the Emergency Response Integration Center (ERIC), a non-profit, non-government organization specializing in Emergency Informatics.
The conference, with its theme, “Five Hundred Years of Christianity: Devotion and Discourse on the Black Nazarene”, was intended to: articulate the Christian faith through the devotion to the Black Nazarene; enunciate people’s perception of their encounter with the Black Nazarene from various perspectives; initiate a deeper understanding of the Black Nazarene phenomena from the perspective of Catholic Christian devotion to popular religiosity to an intellectual discourse through academic research; document the conference proceedings through the publication of selected scholarly research papers; educate the devotees and spread the devotion to the Black Nazarene.
In line with the conference objectives, the topics and strands surfaced on the Black Nazarene were as follows: universal devotion; personal encounters– hope, healing, and renewal; miracles; socio-anthropological, ecumenical and inter-faith views; Filipino Christology; current situation in the age of social media; and evangelization trends, both domestic and global.
The keynote address was delivered by His Eminence Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle, DD, whom Pope Francis designated as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in 2019. Cardinal Tagle emphasized the importance of devotion to God—not by superficial worship but by the strength of belief in divine providence. In his incisive tracing of the history of the Filipinos’ devotion to the Black Nazarene, the Cardinal underscored the values of thanksgiving and utang na loob (sense of gratitude).
Three plenary papers set the tone for the discourses shared by scholars and supplicants: “500 Taon ng Paglakad ng Bayan Kasama ang Poong Hesus Nazareno”; “Maka-Diyos at Makasambayang Pamamanata sa Poong Nazareno” and “Understanding Catholicism in a Shared Space for Religious Practices: An Analysis of Performing Sacred Vow to Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno of Quiapo” by Profs. Michael Charleston “Xiao” Chua (Univeristy of the Philippines/De La Salle University), WiIson Angelo Espiritu (Ateneo de Manila University/Catholic University of Leuven) and Mark Inigo Tallara (National University of Singapore/De La Salle University) respectively.
A special feature of the forum is a Round Table Discussion on the phenomenal devotion to the Black Nazarene, moderated by Drs. Roberto de Lara Ampil and Luciana Lopez-Urquiola, with a panel of secular devotees: Lilibeth Bautista, President, Handmaids of the Black Nazarene; Lance Raven Chato, Representative, Kabataang Deboto of the Black Nazarene; Juanito Tan Jr, Chairman, Hijos del Nazareno Central, Quiapo; and Mark Joseph Verdadero, Community Events Organizer, Minor Basilica of Black Nazarene, Quiapo.
In his closing remarks, Msgr. Coronel gave an accolade to all who participated in the forum: “Engaging the community of the Nazareno in this age means immersing into a life of dedication, service, and commitment.”