For the first time, the ‘traslacion’ or grand procession of the Black Nazarene would not push through next year due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
“Mahalagang anunsyo po, mga Batang Maynila. Napagkasunduan na po ng Manila LGU at Quiapo Church na walang isasagawang prusisyon ng imahe ng Itim na Nazareno para sa Traslacion sa darating na Enero. Iwasan po muna natin ang mga parada at prusisyon ngayong may Covid-19 pandemic (Important announcement for all Manilenyos. The Manila LGU and the Quiapo Church have decided that the grand procession of the Black Nazarene for the Traslacion in January will no longer push through. Let us avoid during this time these processions and parades because there is still the Covid-19 pandemic),” Manila Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso announced via social media on Friday.
The annual feast celebrated every January 9 draws millions of devotees of the Black Nazarene from different parts of the country and some even from abroad make it a point to join the yearly grand procession as part of their “panata” or vow after receiving “miracles” or answer to their petitions as a sign of gratitude.
Meanwhile, many of those who join the procession ask for healing and intervention from the miraculous Black Nazarene.
The yearly procession starts from the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta to the Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo. Last January, the procession took 16 hours.
Domagoso believes that the safety of the public must prevail over tradition especially in this time of the pandemic.
“Maaari pong mapahamak ang ating mga deboto, mailagay sila sa alanganin. There are things that we can’t control pero pwede maiwasan. Kung libo-libo ang pupunta, isa lang sa kanila ang maimpeksyon, tapos magkakadikit-dikit pa sila, pinagpapawisan, nagkakalat ng laway, delikado po (our devotees may be put at risk. There are things that we can’t control but can be avoided. If thousands will attend and only one gets infected and then everyone gets too close to one another, perspiring, it is very dangerous),” he said.
Meanwhile, the Manila Public Information Office said while Quiapo church officials were saddened by the cancelation, they understand that both the church and the public must comply with the minimum health safety protocol of the government.
The church would celebrate more Masses for the devotees of the Black Nazarene but it also reminded the public to observe safe physical distancing, and wear their face masks and face shields in attending Masses.
The body temperature of those who will enter the church will also be monitored.