Tuesday, July 26, 2011


(Excerpted from the article , Ang Mahal na Señor, English translation “Mire of Heaven” by Elmer Beltran Ingles. Original Filipino text by Manuel Baldemor. The Paete Phenomenon, p. 43-44, by San Santiago Apostol, Foundation of Paete, 1991)

According to town historians, the Catholic image of the dead Christ is the oldest, most miraculous and the most important of all images. It is said to have come from Mexico and the oldest-known saint in the stone church of Paete.

Before Lent, it is blessed with incense and daily and nightly prayers are offered. It is bathed with wine and the liquid is kept in small bottles to be distributed to devotees. The used wine becomes sacred and is believed to be a good cure for any ailment.

The Jesus Christ figure also receives the biggest amount of donation from devotees from all over the land. Donations are in the form of blankets, silk clothing and pillows. Excess donations are given to the church to be used as altar mantles or clothes for sacristans. The clothes and pillows are often borrowed for use of sick persons or those afflicted with grave ailments.

While the vigil for the dead Christ is in progress in te house of the recamadero (the keeper of the image), Catholics and even Aglipay take turns in kissing the hands and feet of the image. Men with devotion or personal pledges go on shifts in carrying the image in the procession. The feel the weight on their shoulders if their sins against God and their fellowmen are grave. It is said to be lighter when volunteers do it in gratitude for past blessings. Newly circumcised boys serve as support group with the wooden poles which they used to steady the float during the procession. After the Good Friday rites, everyone is invited to the house of the recamadero for a yummy bowl of sotanghon ( a variety of noodle) and hot biringhi dipped in refined sugar.

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