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‘Meeting’ of Jesus and Mary during Dungaw iconic in more ways than one

The meeting of the images of the Black Nazarene and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel during the Dungaw is iconic in more ways than one, a church tour guide said Tuesday.

Ysabel de Dios, the Tours head at the San Sebastian Church where the Dungaw takes place, told GMA News Online that the event also carries historical and cultural value.

Aside from simulating the moment when Jesus Christ meets Mary as he carries the cross to his crucifixion, the meeting of the two images is a reconnection of two statues that had the same origin.

“People know that Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is a Recollect. But they don’t know that the Nazareno is also a Recollect. So it’s a meeting of two icons that had the same origin. They’re both from Mexico,” de Dios said.

“It’s the Recollect that brought the Nazareno and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel here in Manila, both stored in the same church and both enshrined here at Quiapo,” she added.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel was gifted by Mexican Carmelite nuns to traveling Recollect missionaries in 1618, exactly 400 years ago.

The Black Nazarene was created by a Mexican sculptor and and believed to have been brought to the Philippines at around the same time.

The high point of the Feast of the Black Nazarene, the Traslacion, re-enacts the transfer of a replica of the Black Nazarene image from Intramuros to Quiapo Church in 1787.

The arrival of the two icons was a catalyst for Quiapo to eventually become a cultural center in the 1800s, said de Dios.

“That’s two icons in Quiapo, two gems bringing droves of people here, and actually catalyzed the transformation of Quiapo from a poor fishing village in 1621 to the center of culture and the arts in 1891,” she added.

At the Dungaw, the Black Nazarene stops briefly at Plaza del Carmen facing the church. The image of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is then brought out on to the church balcony to "view" the Black Nazarene as the andas, or the carroza carrying the image, passes by.

The Dungaw had been a tradition long ago, but faded in time. It was recently rediscovered by historians and revived five years ago.

The San Sebastian Church, home of the original image of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel for the past 400 years, is making efforts to make the event a reminder of history.

Devotees were urged to purchase and shake bracelets decorated with tiny bells. The action would be reminiscent of the church bells that were ringing when the image of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel first arrived at San Sebastian.

“We only know that the Dungaw is a meeting of this icon and this icon, but we want people to know also the story why the Dungaw is here,” de Dios said. — BM, GMA News