by Russell Fleur F. Gallego Quiapo Church closes its doors from January 3 to 6 in preparation for the annual Feast of the Black Nazarene or Traslacion.
The Traslacion is an annual event that takes place every January 9 wherein a procession with the miraculous image of the Black Nazarene takes place from the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park to Quiapo Church, with millions of devotees in attendance.
The pandemic forced a modification of the annual Traslacion wherein last year, instead of the usual procession, replicas of the Nazareno visited different parishes in what was termed as Dalaw Nazareno; and on the feast day itself, hourly masses were held in Quiapo Church.
In a statement released via the Facebook page of Quiapo Church, Fr. Douglas Badong, Parochial Vicar, said that the church will be temporarily closed due to the alarming increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the City of Manila, especially with news of the Omicron variant now detected in the Philippines as well. The temporary closure is a necessity for the cleaning and disinfection of the church premises in preparation for the Traslacion. Volunteers were also encouraged to take this time to get vaccinated or get booster doses and to rest in preparation for the Traslacion. It will be recalled that after Christmas, the number of Covid cases spiked up, with a total of 4,600 cases reported on January 2, causing NCR (Metro Manila) to be reverted back to Alert Level 3.
Online Masses to Continue
Fr. Badong assured devotees that all Masses would continue to be celebrated online although Quiapo Church would be closed to visitors.
Devotees are encouraged to reflect on this year's Traslacion theme: "Bakit kayo natatakot? Wala ba kayong pananalig?" (Mark 4:40).
We are reminded that while we have faith that the Nazareno would save us, we should also accompany this faith with caution and discipline.
Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?
Doors open January 7
Quiapo Church will once again open its doors to the devotees of the Black Nazarene on January 7. The Feast of the Black Nazarene is on January 9.
Photos: Quiapo Church Facebook page