Church leaders tell pols: Stay away from Black Nazarene procession
MANILA, Philippines — Church leaders and organizers of the Black Nazarene feast told politicians, especially those eyeing government seats in the May elections, not to take advantage of the event to promote themselves.
“We discourage them from turning the event as campaign,” said Msgr. Hernando Coronel, rector and parish priest of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene or Quiapo Church, on Tuesday.
Politicians tend to use the occasion to greet the crowds with “Happy Fiesta” banners and posters.
He said streamers and posters of politicians, especially those found along the route of the procession on Saturday, would be removed.
Coronel also discouraged devotees and “mamamasans” or volunteers who have been tasked with carrying the image’s “andas” or carriage, not to wear shirts bearing the names of politicians.
He also appealed to devotees not to bring backpacks, bull caps, deadly weapons like guns and knives, items that can be used as deadly weapons such as ice pick, selfie sticks, and umbrella with pointed edge, and the use of fireworks.
He also discouraged intoxicated or drunk pilgrims from joining the procession.
Prior to the January 9 procession of the Black Nazarene image, a parade of replicas of the revered image of Christ will be held on January 7.
The image of the Black Nazarene will weave through the streets of Manila towards Quiapo church—same as last year’s route, covering a distance of about seven kilometers.
Last year’s procession lasted for 19 hours.
To ensure the orderliness and safety, especially of the devotees this year, authorities said they have been drawing lessons from last year’s Papal visit, and the Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) summit. SFM
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