FOR the very first time, there will be no holding of the annual ‘Traslacion’ or grand procession of the venerated image of the Black Nazarene in 2021.
The event, which brings the Black Nazarene from Luneta back to Quiapo Church passing through different routes, is usually held every January and is attended by millions of devotees. The event is also replicated simultaneously in various parts of the country..
This, after a concensus was reached by the city government of Manila through Mayor Isko Moreno and the Quiapo Church authorities headed by rector Monsignor Hernando Coronel that the said procession be set aside as the world continues to find the cure for COVID-19 which continues to claim lives.
Moreno said the health and safety of the devotees must be the paramount concern, along with the possibility of spreading the virus if the said event is not cancelled.
The decision also covers parades and processions being held prior to the grand procession, with Moreno reminding the public that mass gatherings which promote community transmission continue to be prohibited under the regulations set by the inter-agency task force (IATF). Thousands of devotees of the Black Nazarene also hold an annual procession of replicas days before the ‘Traslacion.’ In the said event, devotees bring replicas of Nuestro Señor Jesus Nazareno and line them up during the procession wherein Catholic devotees express thanksgiving for prayers granted and have their replicas blessed too. According to Coronel, the Quiapo Church will instead be holding more masses to accommodate more Catholic faithful.
Coronel thanked the mayor for sitting down with them and hearing them out and for allowing a 30 percent attendance inside Churches from the 10 percent of the seating capacity that was previously allowed.
Moreno said his decision was triggered by the fact that many gather outside the Churches during masses, as he requested the Quiapo Church authorities to ensure that proper health protocols like wearing of face masks and face shields and proper distancing are strictly observed during the holding of more masses.