US Black Nazarene devotees gather and pray for Pope Francis

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.  – It was a gathering bound by faith in a South San Francisco home, in celebration of the Nuestro Senor Nazareno Quiapo or the Black Nazarene.

As kababayans offered up prayers of adoration and hope, one Filipino had a prayer of thanksgiving.

Rhoderick Reyes of Pacifica, Calif. was a candidate for retinal detachment surgery. But after receiving the sacrament of “The Annointing of the Sick” doctors could not find any reason for the operation.

Reyes believes that his devotion to his faith has rewarded him.

“This is my most recent experience that God has really healed me and I can really feel his divine intervention,” Reyes said. I am truly grateful and thankful.”

Reyes is one of many faithful kababayans living in the Bay Area who, like Filipinos in other parts of the world, have brought religious customs like the Black Nazarene adoration abroad.

“That is our tradition,” Ray Satorre said. “Our custom is to see to it that we really remain as strong and faithful to our beliefs.”

These Filipinos say that though it is unfortunate that they will not be in the Philippines during the visit of Pope Francis, they are happy for those who will experience it.

“We may also in our little way join our Filipino brothers and sisters in the Philippines,” Fr. Virgilio Bartolme said. “We here in the States are with you in heart, soul and spirit to welcome the Pope there and with our prayers everything will be fine.”

“It’s a blessing,” Satorre added. “It’s a miracle that the Pope is going to the Philippines because it is a once in a lifetime [experience].  With social media at least we could see it. We could hear it and we could really feel as if we are there.”

Reyes said: “It would be really a great opportunity for the pope to witness how resilient Filipinos are and to experience a Catholic country like the Philippines.”

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