Only a few brave souls risked the threat of COVID-19 by going to church for the “feast” of the Black Nazarene in the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao.
There were no huge crowds of devotees in the streets of Cagayan de Oro City after church and city officials canceled the annual religious procession dubbed the “traslacion” due to the pandemic.
Church workers instead brought out a life-size replica, what they called as the “callejeron,” of the Black Nazarene from the parish church in Lapasan village and placed it on a truck for a motorcade around the city.
City officials made sure the devotees would not be around by holding the motorcade at 10 p.m. Curfew time in Cagayan de Oro is between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Vendors of religious paraphernalia outside the parish church complained of poor sales. “We would be lucky if we sell 500 pesos worth today,” one said.
Before the pandemic, the “feast” of the Black Nazarene would usually draw thousands of devotees since the religious procession started in the city in 2008.
The only one of its kind in Mindanao, and a much tamer version than that of Quiapo district in Manila, the annual procession draws devotees from all over Mindanao.
It was the second time that the life-side image of the Black Nazarene was brought out from the church in Cagayan de Oro.
In April last year, the religious icon was brought out from the church briefly for a motorcade around the city on Good Friday.
Despite the limitations, Father Der John Faborada, spokesperson of the archdiocese, said the people continue to cling on to their faith during the pandemic.
“We see our Masses are well-attended despite the limitations of social distancing and our confessionals are full,” said the priest.
Father Faborada said the archdiocese is also holding online Masses and other religious celebrations.
“We are engage in social networks and Facebook. We have a local radio station to send our message,” he said.