(Photo from Manila PIO)

The city government of Manila on Friday announced that there would be no grand procession of the image of the Black Nazarene in 2021 due to the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The grand procession of the image of the Black Nazarene will no longer push through on January 9, 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Manila’s public information office said in a statement.

NEWS ALERT: Grand procession of Black Nazarene image cancelledThe grand procession of the image of the Black Nazarene…

Posted by Manila Public Information Office on Thursday, October 22, 2020

“This after the Manila city government and the Quiapo Church have agreed to cancel the procession for the first time to ensure that public health protocols will be implemented on the day of the annual ‘Traslacion,'” it continued.

Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso reminded Manileños that the public must prioritize adhering to health protocols over participating in religious traditions that could be deemed dangerous amid the pandemic.

“Nakikisuyo po ako, iwasan po muna natin ang mga parada at prusisyon ngayong may pandemya dulot ng sakit na Covid-19. Maaari pong mapahamak ang ating mga deboto, mailagay sila sa alanganin,” Domagoso said.

“There are things that we cannot control pero pwede maiwasan. Kung libo-libo ang pupunta sa prusisyon, isa lang sa kanila ang maimpeksyon, tapos magkakadikit-dikit pa sila, pinagpapawisan, nagkakalat na droplets ng laway, delikado po iyan,” he added.

Msgr. Hernando Coronel, rector of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, assured Catholics that more masses would be held for Black Nazarene devotees.

“Ang mangyayari po sa January 9 ay patuloy na mga misa, at yung ating mga bikaryo ay ilalagay po natin sa canopy po sa labas ng simbahan,” he said.

More than 2.4 million devotees participated in Traslacion 2020.

Manila has approved the expansion of the allowed seating capacity in churches to 30 percent and would ease city curfew hours to 12 mn to 3 a.m. by December to accommodate Simbang Gabi attendees. John Ezekiel J. Hirro