HomeDiocesan ReportsOver 6 million people turn up for Nazarene feast in Manila

Over 6 million people turn up for Nazarene feast in Manila

Catholic devotees, estimated to be in the millions, turned up for this year’s feast of the Black Nazarene in Manila.

A mammoth crowd, mostly barefoot devotees, packed the city’s streets to witness the traditional procession or “Traslacion” of the Nazarene image from the Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo Church on Tuesday.

Organizers reported that as many as 6.1 million people attended the event — from the midnight Mass presided over by Cardinal Jose Advincula at the grandstand until the return of the image to Quiapo.

An estimated 939,000 people were at the grandstand, approximately 3.2 million joined the procession, and around 1.9 million were at the Quiapo Church.

The procession lasted for 15 hours, marking the fastest time in the history of the Traslacion, which commemorates the transfer of the image from Intramuros to Quiapo more than 400 years ago.

In 2012, the longest Traslacion on record lasted 22 hours, albeit following a different and longer route.

Alex Irasga, the church’s lay adviser for the Traslacion, said the image returned to the church “very clean and without any damage”.

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The life-size statue of the dark-skinned Jesus Christ debuted in a glass case for the procession after three years without it because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘Birth pains’

But on a humid, rainy day, moisture clouded the glass enclosure, affecting everyone’s view of the Black Nazarene.

“This is something that we didn’t prepare for and consider (with the new design of the andas or carriage),” according to Irasga. “Maybe we should just take it as birth pains.”

“One direction that we see is to use a defogger like the ones in the cars to prevent moisture build-up,” he said.

“And one thing is for sure: we attribute the faster procession to the new design of the andas,” Irasga added.

During the procession, one of the two 50-meter ropes used to pull the andas snapped before turning to Arlegui Street corner Quezon Boulevard in Quiapo.

Irasga said that the rope getting broken off is not new because “that has always been the experience in the past”.

“It’s really because some devotees pull threads from the rope and bring it to their homes,” he also said.

Call to service

Presiding over the third-to-last of the 33 fiesta Masses on Tuesday evening, Quiapo Church spokesperson Fr. Hans Magdurulang said that every devotee is called to serve and minister to others.

And serving in Christ’s name, he said, means no conditions or expectations.

“Let us be devotees who not only receive but also serve,” Magdurulang said.

“The Black Nazarene is not just on the altar or andas; He must also be present in our good attitude and reflected acts of kindness toward others,” he said.

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