Feast of Black Nazarene’s events are ‘not COVID-19 superspreader’ – organizer
MANILA, Philippines — A Quiapo Church official defended the Feast of Black Nazarene on Tuesday, saying its activities are not “superspreaders” of COVID-19.
According to Alex Irasga, a member of the fiesta committee and adviser for the 2023 Black Nazarene Festival, some sectors often point to the event as a key source of COVID-19 transmission.
“The science and data said the celebration of the [Feast of] Black Nazarene in 2021 is not a superspreader. You can check all data,” he said in a press conference in Manila when asked about their plan to ensure that the country’s largest religious activity will not become superspreader events.
The list of the events for the Nazarene:
- Jan. 7
12:01 a.m. – Misa Para sa Deboto
6:00 a.m. – Misa para sa mga Tagapangasiwa
- Jan. 8
12:01 a.m. – Mass
Walk of Faith (AM, to be announced)
Vigil (PM, to be announced)
- Jan. 9:
12:01 a.m – Mass
Meanwhile, below is the schedule for the Misa Nazareno:
- Novenario: 5 a.m. – 10a.m.; 12:15 Novena; 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.
- Biyernes: 4 a.m. – 8 p.m.
- Sabado: 5AM – 7PM
- Linggo: Regular Mass and Fiesta Mass 3 p.m. – 11 p.m.
- Kapistahan: 12 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Doctors and health authorities had warned that activities to celebrate the Feast of Black Nazarene could turn into a superspreader event for COVID-19. A superspreader event is when a virus carrier infects many others on contact, leading to vast clusters of cases.
READ: Nazarene feast may turn into ‘superspreader’ if . . .
“We are not superspreaders. We are spreaders of faith and devotion to the Black Nazarene,” Irasga maintained.
He also pointed out that other mass gathering activities, like the political rallies during the 2022 elections, were not treated like a superspreader event.
“Bakit ang mga pagpupulong, ‘yung mga meeting, ‘yung mga rally noong eleksyon ay hindi natin itinuring na superspreader? Bakit ang mga sporting event, mga concert hindi natin itinuturing na superspreader?” He stressed.
(Why were the meetings and the rallies during the elections not treated as superspreaders? Why were the sporting events and concerts not treated as superspreaders?)
“Bakit ang gawaing kabanalan ay naba-brand as superspreader?” he added.
(Why, then, do we consider religious activities as superspreaders?)
The Department of Health was sought for comment on Irasga’s assertions, but INQUIRER.net has yet to receive its statement as of this posting.
To recall, the government had canceled the Traslacion and physical Masses at the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, where the sacred image has been enshrined since 1787.
READ: All quiet in Quiapo again as Black Nazarene feast goes online
For the third consecutive time, the Traslacion will be suspended on Monday, January 9, but all other activities for the Feast of Black Nazarene this year will resume.
Events such as the hourly celebration of the Holy Mass at the Quiapo Church and the Mass at the Quirino Grandstand, which the Archdiocese of Manila will lead, will proceed on January 9, according to Fr. Earl Valdez, attached priest of Quiapo Church.
Also, instead of the traditional “Pahalik,” devotees can just approach and touch the image of the Black Nazarene, said Valdez.
The Black Nazarene’s Traslacion was first canceled in 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the country.
Traslacion suspended anew in 2022 as threats of pandemic stay
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