True believers need not touch Black Nazarene, joining procession enough
Church leaders on Monday reminded the faithful that they do not need to touch the image of the Black Nazarene to be blessed and be called a true believer.
“Hindi naman para humawak doon sa imahe. Hindi iyon ang objective ng isang deboto. Ang objective ng isang deboto ay sumama sa prusisyon,” said Fr. Douglas Badong, parochial vicar of Quiapo Church.
(It’s not about touching the image. That is not the objective of a devotee. The objective of a devotee is to join the procession.)
Nazarene devotees are known to crowd near the image, with many of them attempting to ride the “andas” or the carriage bearing the statue during the “traslacion.”
This results in a slow procession that can last for more than 20 hours as the image’s carriage is pulled from Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo Church.
Badong said adults should explain to younger participants that it is not about touching the “andas” or the image.”
If they want to touch the statue, he said they can go to Quiapo Church this week while the number of visiting devotees is still manageable.
On Monday morning, people have started lining up at Quiapo Church to visit the 400-year-old cross-bearing image of Christ.
Badong said last year’s event, which officially starts on Dec. 31 and ends on Jan. 10, attracted around 15 million people.
“It’s a good thing na buhay pa rin ang pananampalataya ng mag tao (It’s a good thing that the people’s faith is still alive),” he said.
They expect this year’s crowd to be around 15 to 18 million.
The priest reminded participants to be ready “mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.”
He said those planning to join the procession should make sure that they had enough rest and had eaten enough food because it will be difficult for them to leave once they have joined the procession.
“Yung mga medyo may karamdaman, mga may high blood wag na po magpumilit (Those who are sick, those who have high blood pressure should not insist to join),” Badong said.
He also reminded devotees to cut their toenails. He said it is a simple thing but a large number of injuries reported during the procession are usually because of people trampling on each other.
Penelope Belmonte, executive director of the National Parks Development Committee, said there will be portable restrooms at the Luneta Park where the procession will start on Jan. 9.
She also reminded parents not to bring their children since they receive many reports of missing children during the procession.
Badong said those who have no choice but to bring children should make sure that they have identification cards with them.
Even adults should have identification cards, he said, in case they need to be brought to the hospital for a health emergency.
Quiapo Church rector Msgr. Hernando Coronel said their social communications group will try to use Facebook Live during the procession to share the event with those who are unable to join.
There will also be simultaneous Black Nazarene processions in Cagayan de Oro and Tagum City. CDG