2021 Black Nazarene feast will have ‘localized’ celebrations but no big procession

Devotees jostle one another as they try to touch the Black Nazarene replica during an annual procession in Quiapo city, Metro Manila, Philippines January 7, 2018. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco - RC16CD6BA0A0

The celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene in January next year would be “localized,” an official of the Quiapo Church said on Friday, adding the traditional procession that draws millions of devotees will not be held.

“There is no procession but the celebration will push through but there will be big and many changes in commemorating the feast of the Black Nazarene,” said Fr. Douglas Badong, parochial vicar of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, in a press conference.

Badong added that the plan to localize the celebration means that they will bring the Black Nazarene to different places, to discourage the public, particularly the devotees, from going to Manila to celebrate the feast.

“We will localize the celebration of Traslacion…we also urged parishes to celebrate the feast so that the people will celebrate in their areas,” he said.

The move comes as mass gatherings remain prohibited under quarantine restrictions due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

The initial schedule of the Black Nazarene visits to different areas particularly in Manila and nearby cities will start on December 31, Hospicio de San Jose; San Lazaro hospital, January 1, 2021; Manila Cathedral, January 2; Greenbelt Chapel in Makati City, January 3; Manila City Hall, January 4; Bureau of Fire Prevention NHQ, Quezon City, January 5; Manila Police District, January 6 and Barangay 394, January 7 and January 8, NCS-BEC’s Community, Sto. Domingo Shrine, Quezon City.

It will also visit churches in Southern Luzon: December 30 to 31 Antipolo Cathedral, Antipolo, Rizal; Jan. 2, Shrine of Padre Pio, Sto. Tomas, Batangas; January 3, San Vicente Ferrer Parish, Binan, Laguna; January 4, San Roque Parish/Porta Vaga, Cavite City; January 5, San Isidro Parish Las Piñas City; Sto. Nino Parish, Signal Village, Taguig City and January 7, Baclaran Church.

On the other hand, Badong added that only 30 percent of the seating capacity of the church will be allowed during Masses on the Black Nazarene’s feast day on January 9, which will start as early as 4 a.m.

“After every mass, there will be an interval of several minutes, to let those who have attended the Mass to leave before we will let the new batch to come inside. There will be an ample to let people come in and come out of the church,” the Quiapo church official added.

The nearby Sta. Cruz Church and San Sebastian Church will also be celebrating masses on January 9, to encourage people to attend masses there instead of Quiapo church.

Also, they will be putting 14 prayer stations within the vicinity of the minor basilica, where people can also pray.

Last January, the traditional ‘Traslacion’ was attended by some 4 million devotees. It was among the fastest in recent history as it lasted for only 16 hours.

In 2019, the procession ended after 21 hours. CURRENTPH

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