Thousands flock to Quiapo for Black Nazarene feast amid COVID-19 threat
MANILA, Philippines — Despite the threat posed by COVID-19, thousands of devotees flocked to Quiapo in Manila to celebrate the Feast of the Black Nazarene on Saturday.
Photos from the Manila Public Information Office show devotees around and inside the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene attending the first mass officiated by Bishop Broderick Pabillo, the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila.
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In an interview on radio station DZBB, Manila Police District director Brig. Gen. Leo Francisco said that as of 7:40 a.m., they have estimated that over 300,000 devotees were at Quezon Boulevard, while an estimated 100,000 devotees gathered along Palanca Street.
“Continuous yung pagdating ng tao, ‘yun ang nakikita namin. At ‘yun ngang social distancing na one meter… na-occupy na kasi ang Quezon Boulevard at sa Palanca,” he said.
(People are coming continuously, that’s what we see. And the social distancing of one-meter… Quezon Boulevard and Palanca are already occupied.)
“Kaya sabi ko sa control points higpitan na ang pagpapasok ng tao, pakiusapan na sila na ‘wag nang pumasok dito sa area na ito dahil mahirap na i-maintain ang physical distancing,” he added.
(That’s why I told those who are at the control points to ask the devotees not to enter the area because physical distancing is already hard to maintain.)
Instead of the usual traslacion, this year’s festivities will have a total of 15 holy masses to be held at the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, starting at 4:30 a.m.
Only 400 persons, however, will be accommodated per mass.
Those unable to enter the church, meanwhile, may hear the mass through the 12 LED screens installed within the vicinity of the church.
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