Restrictions fail to dampen faith of Black Nazarene devotees in CDO
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Clarita Copiera, 61, of Barangay Macabalan here waited in line to enter the Archdiocesan Shrine of the Black Nazarene, locally known as the Nazareno Church, on Friday amid tight security and crowd control measures.
A long-time devotee, Copiera said she paid her respects to the Black Nazarene ahead of its feast on Saturday to avoid the expected crowds.
Church and local government officials have earlier urged devotees to stay and pray at home instead during the feast day to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The parish added schedules of Holy Masses in the run-up to the feast in order to accommodate throngs of devotees amid restrictions on physical distancing.
On Saturday, eight masses were held with Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Jose Cabantan presiding over a celebration at 10:30 a.m.
Msgr. Perseus Cabunoc of the Nazareno parish said they also disallowed the tradition of kissing the image as an added precaution.
Despite these limitations, Fr. Der John Faborada, spokesperson of the Cagayan de Oro Archdiocese, said Nazarene devotees held on to their faith amid the pandemic.
“We see our Masses are well-attended despite the limitations of social distancing, and our confessionals are full,” Faborada noted.
He added that the archdiocese has adapted by going full blast in reaching the faithful online.
“We are engaged in the social (media) networks and Facebook. We (also) have a local radio station to send our message,” Faborada said.
In lieu of the traditional traslacion, the archdiocese and the city government have agreed to the holding of a motorcade on Friday night.
Traditionally, on the eve of the Nazarene feast, the image is brought to the St. Augustine Cathedral for a vigil.
At around 10 p.m. on Friday, the archdiocese brought out the life-size replica or the “callejeron” of the Black Nazarene from the Nazareno parish church in Barangay Lapasan and placed it on the back of a truck for a motorcade around the city.
The motorcade was timed to coincide with the start of the city-wide curfew to prevent devotees from gathering in the streets.
Church officials encouraged households to open their windows and light candles and lamps as a way of welcoming the Black Nazarene into their homes during the motorcade.
It was the second time that the life-size image of the Black Nazarene was brought out of the church. Last April, the religious icon was brought out from the church briefly for a motorcade around the city on Good Friday.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the feast of the Black Nazarene draws thousands of devotees ever since it started here in 2009.
Last year, some 250,000 attended the vigil at the cathedral and joined the traslacion.
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