By JAIMIE ROSE R. ABERIA
A sixty-five-year-old devotee is proud of his 10-foot miraculous replica of the Black Nazarene called “Boss” which he claimed cured him of pneumonia that almost cost his life several years ago.
Armin “Amen” Macalagay, a retired seaman, is keeping four replicas of the Black Nazarene in his humble abode in Tondo, Manila. He said his devotion “came naturally” as he was from a family of devotees.
He said he earned his nickname “Amen” because he was a sickly kid who later became fit enough to join the crowd attempting to touch the image of the Black Nazarene.
“Nagsimula ako bilang mamamasan nung 17 years old ako, tapos hanggang sa nakapagtrabaho na ako bilang seaman, dun na lumalim ang kaalaman ko dahil kung saan saan ako nakapunta, katulad sa Jerusalem,” he said.
Macalagay said he gave up all the luxury he had in order to purchase the custom-made replicas from Paete, Laguna.
The first Nazareno he bought was “Senyor Bulilit,” who is now 51-years-old. In 2012, he bought Boss, a 10-foot replica, which he said is miraculous.
“Tinamaan ako ng sakit na pneumonia, 50/50 na ako. Sa kanya lang nagdasal ang pamilya ko, ‘yung luha niya, pinahid ko lang sa akin, gumaling ako,” Macalagay narrated.
Aside from himself, Macalagay said Boss also healed countless others.
“Ang di ko makakalimutan, ‘yung bedridden na, dahil dina-dialysis. Lumapit sa amin ang pamilya at dahil din sa kanya ay gumaling,” he said. “Sa aming pamilya rin, walang may sakit kaya mabuti na rin kaysa may pera pero napupunta lang sa pagpapagamot.”
Macalagay also bought two other replicas which they named Bossing and a smaller one called “Andas.”
He said Andas was requested by the younger members of Anak ng Diyos, Ama Sa Langit, which he founded in 2012, and now has different chapters in the country.
“Gusto nung mga bata na may bubuhatin din sila kaya pinasadya naming itong maliit,” he said.
Macalagay said it is important to start training the youth so that they will have someone to pass on the devotion.
“Malaking bagay na nagagabayan sila, para lumalaki sila, natututo. Kasi ngayon, ‘yung mga mamamasan, malayo na sa dati. Nandiyan na ‘yung nag-aaway away kaya kailangan talaga may patnubay,” he said. “Mahirap din kasing mangako pero hanggang kaya ng katawan ko, ipagpapatuloy ko itong debosyon na ito.”
Macalagay yesterday joined thousands who braved the blazing heat of the Sun to join the procession of replicas of the Black Nazarene from the different parts of the country around Quiapo, Manila.
The Manila Police District placed the crowd estimate at 80,000 at the beginning of the procession at 2 p.m.
Meanwhile, volunteers involved in the “Traslacion” will have the opportunity to get close to the Black Nazarene a day before the much anticipated annual procession of the image.
For the first time, a special Mass will be said for volunteers today at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila.
“This is for volunteers so this won’t be open to the public. We want to give them the opportunity to get near the Black Nazarene to say their prayer or wish,” Monsignor Hernando “Ding” Coronel, rector of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene or Quiapo Church in Manila, said.