The head pastor of the Quiapo Church defended the Black Nazarene devotees against some sweeping criticisms hurled against them.
The church’s rector, Fr. Jun Sescon, asserted that “no true devotee” would engage in negative actions, especially during the celebration of the Black Nazarene feast.
While he acknowledged the presence of “adventurous elements”, he emphasized that a true devotee would never hurt others just to touch the Nazarene statue.
“Let us help the devotees get a good name because true devotees are willing and will cooperate,” Sescon said during a press conference on Thursday.
“But we can’t discount that not only devotees will come so let’s work and pray together,” he said.
This year’s “Traslacion” or procession on Jan. 9 will see the Nazarene image encased in thick tempered and laminated glass for the first time to protect it from damage.
Like the previous processions, church and government authorities are expecting at least two million devotees attending one of the nation’s biggest religious events.
In the past, devotees ended up hurting one another just to touch the wooden image of Jesus Christ in a massive annual procession.
The procession, which usually takes 18 to 22 hours, was suspended at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic for the last three years.
With the shorter route this time and new measures in place, organizers are expecting a faster procession.
“We can be sure that the procession will be faster if everyone follows the guidelines,” Sescon said.