Big statues of the Black Nazarene will not be allowed in areas covered by next year’s celebration of the feast of the black Jesus, officials of Quiapo Church said Thursday.
Alex Irasga, a parish lay adviser, said images measuring more than two feet tall will be prohibited at the Quirino Grandstand as early as Jan. 7.
An image of the Nazareno will be displayed at the area until the feast day on Jan. 9 for the “Pagpupugay” or wherein devotees will be allowed to touch the statue.
Such policy, he said, will remain in force at the routes of the “Walk of Faith” procession and at the vicinity of Quiapo Church.
“Some devotees might think they are part of the procession and might cause disorder so we want to avoid that,” Irasga said at a press briefing in Manila.
“You can bring images that can be handled by one person. We will not prevent that. But for those more than two feet, which cannot be carried by a single person, that we will not allow anymore,” he said.
He also asked groups of devotees looking to bring standartes and carriages for the event to forego such plans.
“We are appealing to them not to bring along their banners and the like to the procession,” Irasga added.
Irasga said such a policy will be strictly implemented in coordination with the police authorities.
“There will be checkpoints around the Quirino Grandstand and Quiapo areas. All who shall attempt to bring these images will be disallowed,” Irasga said.
Quiapo Church authorities earlier announced the traditional procession of the Black Nazarene image or “Traslacion” remains suspended next year amid the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They instead introduced the “Walk of Faith” from the Quirino Grandstand to the Quiapo Church but without the image of the black Jesus after the 12 midnight Mass on Jan. 8.
Those planning to join the procession are encouraged to bring candles and observe health protocols such as the wearing of face masks.
“Our goal here is to have a procession that is orderly, peaceful, and with a high degree of holiness so that we can strengthen the devotion to the Black Nazarene,” Irasga said.
At midnight of Jan. 9, Cardinal Jose Advincula of Manila will be presiding over the Fiesta Mass at the Quirino Grandstand.