Church officials in Manila expressed sadness over the decision of the local government to cancel next year’s religious procession of the image of the Black Nazarene, known as the “traslacion,” in the city’s Quiapo district.
The local government of Manila announced the cancellation of the annual event in January 2021 as a precaution against the spread of the new coronavirus disease.
Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso said on Friday, October 23, that government and church officials have already decided not to hold the religious procession that attracts millions from all over the country every year.
“Our devotees may be put at risk,” said the mayor.
“There are things that we cannot control but can be avoided. If thousands will attend and only one gets infected and then everyone gets too close to one another…it is very dangerous,” he added.
Father Douglas Badong, parochial vicar of Quiapo Church, said the faithful are saddened by the decision, but they have to comply with the health and safety protocols set by the government.
“To our devotees, we are asking for your understanding,” said the priest.
“It is sad that we won’t be able to do our tradition and culture of holding the ‘traslacion,’ but we have to understand the decision,” he said.
“We cannot really push through with the traditional procession from Luneta to Quiapo because it is very risky,” said Father Badong.
The priest suggested instead of holding more Masses during the nine-day Novena.
He called on churches across the country to hold Novena masses in celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene so that the faithful outside Manila would no longer need to go to Quiapo Church.
The priest also reminded the public to observe physical distancing and wear face masks and face shields during the Masses.
Father Badong also appealed for prayers for a vaccine for the new coronavirus disease that will help end the global pandemic.
The annual religious procession recalls the transfer of the image of the Black Nazarene from an Augustinian church in the old walled city of Manila to the basilica in the city’s Quiapo district.