MANILA, Philippines – The national government and the Manila city government announced that there will be no physical masses at Quiapo Church during the day of the Feast of the Black Nazarene, January 9, in response to the huge spike in COVID-19 transmissions in Metro Manila.
Acting Presidential Spokesman and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said on Wednesday, January 5, that the new measures were formalized in the National Task Force Against COVID-19’s first resolution for the year 2022.
“The Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene or Quiapo Church will be closed on January 7 to 9, 2022. No Holy Mass shall be physically conducted on these dates,” according to Resolution No. 1, series 2022, which Nograles showed during a Malacañang press briefing.
“All Holy Masses will be aired online nationwide,” reads the document.
Earlier on Wednesday, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno urged Black Nazarene devotees to attend online masses instead. He appealed to them not to go to Quiapo Church or Plaza Miranda with their Black Nazarene replicas. Law enforcers will be deployed within the perimeter of the church and in key entry points in Manila that lead to the church.
Video walls will also not be set up near Quiapo Church to prevent people from congregating there.
“Ang panawagan ko, huwag na po kayong magpunta. May inaalay sa inyo ang Quiapo Parish na online mass. Umupo tayo sa bahay, hawak-hawak tayo ng kamay, ng pamilya natin, magdasal tayo ng taimtim sa kanya-kanya nating tahanan para naman sa inyong kaligtasan,” said Moreno during a press briefing.
(My appeal is, don’t go anymore. The Quiapo Parish is offering online mass. Sit in your homes, holding the hands of your family, let’s pray fervently in our own homes for our safety.)
The Department of Health and the World Health Organization have also appealed to Black Nazarene devotees to just participate in virtual events at home.
Moreno also signed an executive order banning the sale of liquor and other alcoholic beverages during the Feast of the Black Nazarene. The liquor ban will be effective starting 6 pm on January 8, until 6 am on January 10.
This is the second time the Traslacion, the procession in honor of the Black Nazarene, has been canceled. The event draws millions of devotees to Manila streets. – Rappler.com