Officials of Quiapo Church announced that they will be limiting to 400 the people who will be allowed to attend Mass inside the church on Saturday, January 9, “feast” of the Black Nazarene.
The decision is in line with the government’s health restrictions that allows attendance of only 30 percent of the venue’s seating capacity during religious services in areas under “general community quarantine.”
A CBCP News report said that 15 Masses will be celebrated on January 9 to accommodate about 6,000 people inside the church the whole day.
Alex Erasga, a member of the “technical working group” for the celebration, said devotees can still attend Mass outside the church.
He said huge screen stations will be set up outside and markers will be placed to maintain “physical distancing” of at least one meter.
Masses in Quiapo Church will begin at 4:30 a.m. on that day and will be presided by Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila.
The last Mass will be at 10:15 p.m. to be presided by Monsignor Hernando Coronel, rector of Quiapo Church.
To limit the crowd in Quiapo, Masses will also be celebrated in the nearby Sta. Cruz Church, San Sebastian Church, and in the Nazarene Catholic School.
Church and government leaders have earlier announced that the traditional religious procession of the image of the Black Nazarene has been canceled due to the pandemic.
Monsignor Coronel earlier urged devotees of the Black Nazarene to stay home on January 9.
“If possible, just pray in your homes, stay at home, pray with the family because we will also get the same grace,” he said.
The tradition of the “traslacion” or “transfer” started when on Jan. 9, 1787, the Augustinian Recollects donated a copy of the image of the Nazarene to the church in Quiapo from the church of San Nicolas de Tolentino in the old city of Manila.