COME Jan. 9, 2016, the area around the Holy Cross Church on 329 West 42nd St., New York City, between 8th and 9th Ave., will be the new Quiapo in America.

Quiapo, as everyone in the Philippines knows, is the home of the Black Nazarene where almost six to eight million strong of devotees take part in the procession known as the Feast of the Black Nazarene.

The statue is renowned in the country and considered miraculous by many Filipino Catholics.

This annual pilgrimage is considered the greatest show of faith in modern history, unparalleled anywhere else in its zeal.

The image of the Black Nazarene, a life-sized iconic statue of Jesus Christ is enshrined in the Minor Basilica, canonically known as St. John the Baptist Parish.

The statue derived its name from “Nazarene,” which is a title of Christ identifying him as being of Nazareth of Galilee.

The statue was made by an anonymous Mexican sculptor, and the image arrived in Manila galleon from Acapulco, Mexico on May 31, 1606.

Pope Innocent X approved veneration of the statue in 1650 as a sacramental, and Pope Pius VII gave the statue his apostolic blessing in 1880, which granted plenary indulgence to those who piously pray before it.

As many times as in the past, a group of Filipino-Americans in New York and New Jersey have been going to local churches asking for a place that will accommodate an image of the Black Nazarene.

They had been declined at least four times.

Finally, they were able to secure a place with the Holy Cross Church situated across the Port Authority Bus Terminal in West 42nd St.

The pastor is Rev. Fr. Thomas Franks, OFM, CAP.

The program will begin with a Spiritual Talk by Rev. Fr. Victor Garcia, OFM, CAP followed by a solemn mass officiated by the Most. Rev. Bernardito C. Auza, Titular Archbishop of Suacia, Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the Organization of American States.

After the Eucharistic Procession there will be a Fellowship Reception.

In addition to the Holy Black Nazarene, there is also an image that is being accommodated at the Church — the Our Lady of Caysasay.

Our Lady of Caysasay is a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary venerated at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay in Taal, Batangas.

It is believed to be the one of the oldest in the country, having been found in 1603 by a man fishing in the Pansipit River.

The subsequent Marian apparitions documented by Spanish colonial church leaders were the first in the country.

Devotees today continue to attribute miracles to the Virgin.

And just like the Quiapo in the Philippines, the Holy Cross Church is accessible to all means of transportation, just a block away from Times Square, or via NJ Transit, as well as the IND subway A-Trains.

For information, please call Victoria/Betty at 201-592-0017 or the Outreach Program at 346-277-3487.

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