INSTEAD of the traditional and often chaotic Traslación where millions of people joined the transfer of Black Nazarene to Quiapo Church, devotees simply walked for two hours in solemn procession Sunday.
Around 80,000 devotees joined the “Walk of Faith” procession, organizers said.
The Walk of Faith traversed the same Traslación route – from Luneta to Quiapo Church. The walk started around 1:30 am at the Quirino Grandstand. The devotees took two and a half hours to reach the Quiapo Church or the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene.
This is the third year Traslación was suspended and was the first year to be replaced by the Walk of Faith.
The image of the Black Nazarene was left at the Quirino Grandstand for the Pagpupugay activity. There was also no image carried during the “Walk of Faith” to control the influx of devotees from wiping the image during the procession.
Nazareno 2023 adviser Alex Irasga said despite the easing of the health protocols in Metro Manila, they decided to suspend Traslación to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus and not to make the religious activity “a superspreader event.”
Daryl, one of the members of the Hijos del Nazareno, said despite the customary Traslación from Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo Church being suspended, he and his fellow Hijos are still happy that the long-standing Catholic tradition is slowly coming back.
“At some point, I am still grateful that our tradition is slowly coming back despite the pandemic,” he said in Filipino during an interview with republicasia.
When asked the reason behind his “panata” (religious vow), Daryl said, “it’s always for the good health of my family for us to remain strong and brave in facing the challenges of life.”
This was also the devotion of Mike, who brought his nine-year-old grandson Angelo with him to the procession “to give thanks” to the Black Nazarene and to “keep his family healthy and to prevent from getting COVID-19.”
Aside from the Walk of Faith attendees, some 47,970 devotees have been lining up since the first day of the “Pagpupugay” activity until 6 a.m. on Sunday.
“Pagpupugay” is the counterpart of the “Pahalik” (kissing the image of the Black Nazarene) where devotees are only allowed to wipe their towels and touch the image of the Black Nazarene to prevent bodily fluids from spreading as faithful pay their respect to the image, officials said.
Pagpupugay will run from January 7 to 10.
Over 39,000 devotees, on the other hand, joined the mass celebrations at the Quiapo Church as of 6 a.m., the Command Post said in a Viber message sent to the press.
On the feast day, January 9, the Quiapo Church will be offering 24 masses from 12 midnight until 11 p.m.,