As Filipino Catholics observe the Feast of the Black Nazarene, President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday renewed his call to pray that the country would be able to overcome the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic.
He described the Feast of the Black Nazarene as a “venerated religious tradition” and a precious time for every devotee to understand the value of suffering and its saving grace.
Duterte acknowledged that the traditional procession of Black Nazarene or “Traslacion” was suspended due to an uptick in Covid-19 infections, but noted there are other ways to keep an active faith despite quarantine restrictions.
“Faith is the conviction of things that we hope for, even if unseen,” he said in his Feast of the Black Nazarene message.
He urged Filipinos to pray for the recovery of the country and of the world.
“Although we may not be able to take part in the usual Traslacion activities that have marked the celebration for centuries, let us keep on demonstrating our faith by praying for our country’s recovery and for humanity’s complete healing, especially from the ill effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he added.
Duterte expressed hope that Filipino Catholics remain “united in spirit and in truth.”
“As a predominantly Catholic nation, may we remain united in spirit and in truth as we continue to build a future that is truly blessed with peace, prosperity, love and goodwill for all. I wish you a peaceful, safe and meaningful observance,” he said.
On Wednesday, the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 approved the recommendation to suspend the Traslacion procession and all other activities related to it this year.
The Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene of Quiapo Church was closed and no Holy Mass shall be physically conducted from January 7 to 9.
The Traslacion is the Catholic faithful’s annual religious festival involving a traditional procession of the Black Nazarene, an image of Jesus Christ, from Quirino Grandstand in Luneta to Quezon Boulevard, Manila.
This is the second year that the traditional procession of the Black Nazarene has been suspended due to the global health crisis.
As of Saturday, the Department of Health (DOH) reported a record-high 26,458 Covid-19 cases, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 2.937 million.
Recoveries were up by 1,656 for a total of 2.783 million while deaths reached 52,135 after 265 succumbed to respiratory disease.