Today in the Philippines is the feast of the Black Nazarene, a statue of the Lord carrying his cross which is preserved in Manila. Today the statue will be taken out in procession and many thousands of the faithful will attend the ceremonies. The story of the statue can be found here. Devotion to the Black Nazarene has deepened people's understanding of the passion and death of the Lord, and what he gained for us in his suffering. I am sure many attending the processions have also been encouraged in their trials, strengthened to carry their own cross remembering that the Lord himself knew the bitter taste of suffering.
I wish all my Filipino readers a happy feast day, and may I ask them to remember us all to the Lord on this special day. It is appropriate that the feast should fall on a Friday this year.