The annual feast of the Black Nazarene will be suspended anew in January next year, the third year in a row that the traditional event, also known as Traslacion, is canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Quiapo Church attached priest Fr. Earl Allyson Valdez, in a radio interview, said all other activities related to the feast will proceed, including touching the image of the Black Nazarene in place of the “Pahalik,” which will be held at the Quirino Grandstand.
“Although there will be no traditional procession, all our usual activities related to the Feast of the Black Nazarene will continue,” the prelate said.
Hourly Masses at the Quiapo Church will also push through starting 12 a.m. on January 9, to be celebrated by Manila Archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula.
There will also be Masses in other churches in Metro Manila and other Luzon provinces for those who would not be able to go to Quiapo Church for the celebration.
“Our goal is that if people are unable to go to Quiapo Church for the Traslacion, the Black Nazarene itself will go to their respective places and churches,” Fr. Valdez said.
He explained that the Quiapo Church decided to suspend Traslacion anew to avoid the influx of people from various parts of the country to Quiapo as COVID-19 is still prevalent.
He said they also consider the health and safety of the elderly and people with comorbidities who are more vulnerable to COVID-19.
The Traslacion is the procession that carries the image of the Black Nazarene from Quirino Grandstand back to Quiapo Church and is held annually on January 9.
As for the health protocols in the Quiapo Church, Valdez said churchgoers are still advised to wear their face masks inside, and there will also be separate entry and exit points to maintain physical distance.