No mammoth crowds, but devotees show up to honor Black Nazarene | Inquirer News

No mammoth crowds, but devotees show up to honor Black Nazarene

/ 05:35 AM January 10, 2023

Devotees of the Black Nazarene at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila. STORY: No mammoth crowds, but devotees show up to honor Black Nazarene

TOUCH AND GO Devotees of the Black Nazarene troop to Quirino Grandstand in Manila on Monday to touch the feet of the image of Jesus Christ and a part of the cross as the traditional kissing (“pahalik”) of the image has been disallowed amid the pandemic. —NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

MANILA, Philippines — The first major in-person celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene in Manila in three years ended on Monday with tens of thousands of devotees flocking to Quirino Grandstand to touch the image, or to Quiapo Church to hear Mass.

The traditional traslación had been canceled for the third year due to the COVID-19 pandemic but the religious celebration attracted more devotees this year as health protocols and mobility restrictions had been eased due to improving public health conditions.


The last day of display at Quirino Grandstand of the life-sized image of a dark-skinned Christ carrying a cross drew a steady stream of devotees numbering around 100,000 to 120,000 at any given time, according to official crowd estimates.


The devotees, some of whom brought their young children, lined up to have a few moments’ chance to touch or wipe the portion of the cross and foot of the image.

‘Jesus understands’

At the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, church attendees for the hourly Masses reached over 80,000. Last year, the Masses were streamed online but several devotees, wearing face masks and face shields, still tried to visit the church that was secured by policemen.

“There is no human experience that the Lord Jesus of Nazareth does not understand,” Manila Archbishop Cardinal Jose Advincula said in his homily for the kick-off Mass held at Quirino Grandstand at 12 a.m. on Monday.

“He understands what the sick endure, the tiredness felt by workers, the loneliness of OFWs (overseas Filipino workers),” said Advincula.

“He knows the efforts of the poor, the cold felt by those without clothing and home, the hunger pangs of the hungry and thirsty. He knows the sacrifices of the honest public servant, the repentance of sinners, the dreams of children and the patience of the elderly,” he added.


Quiapo Church officials introduced the alternative “Walk of Faith” procession on Jan. 8 without the image and allowed devotees to go near but not kiss the image.

Fr. Earl Allyson Valdez said the event ran “very smoothly,” saying the new format proved to be a “good decision.”

“We cannot say if this will be the format for the following years, but rest assured that whatever lessons we have learned, once the pandemic is gone, we will be able to implement and innovate on some of it,” said Valdez.

He said the impact on the changes made this year “cannot be seen immediately.”

“I think if we’re going to see changes in terms of devotion, it may take five to 10 years more. But we’ll have to see what happens in the postpandemic life,” he said.

From Jan. 6 to 9, a total of 642 devotees were among those reported by the Department of Health (DOH) who were treated for hypertension/hypotension, wounds, headaches, asthma and stomach pains.

Among four people hospitalized, one remains under observation.

Postholidays, COVID-19 cases dropped further to an average 447 cases daily from Jan. 2 to Jan. 8, which is 9 percent lower than the 494 average daily cases between Christmas and the New Year.

Out of 3,127 new cases, seven were in severe condition, bringing to 507 the total admitted patients who are severely ill.

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Out of 12,376 active cases, 4,616 are admitted in hospitals.

The DOH confirmed 79 more deaths, some as far back as two years ago, raising the official death toll to 65,476 out of 4,067,678 confirmed cases.

TAGS: Walk of Faith

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