Quiapo Church rector, Monsignor Hernando Coronel, has urged devotees of the Black Nazarene to pray that the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) would soon end.
“We rely on our faith during these times. We are suffering during this pandemic. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Nazarene (is with) us during our sufferings during this pandemic,” Coronel told Philippine News Agency in an interview on January 8, 2020, a day before the Black Nazarene’s feast day.
He said he was happy that there is already a vaccine against Covid-19.
Coronel also noted that this year’s celebration of the feast is very much different from the past due to the pandemic.
“It’s simplified. We will concentrate on the Masses. Many places of worship are celebrating Mass for the Nazareno,” he added.
The churches within the vicinity of the basilica, the Sta. Cruz Church and San Sebastián Church, will be holding Masses where people could attend.
Light-emitting diode (LED) screens will also be set up along Quezon Boulevard, as well as Carlos Palanca, Carriedo, Plaza Lacson, and Villalobos streets, so devotees could watch the Masses being held inside the basilica.
Earlier, organizers of the annual event said only 400 devotees would be allowed for each Mass inside the Quiapo church on January 9.
Only a maximum of 6,000 people will be able to attend the 15 Masses on the Black Nazarene’s feast day.
Queuing for those who would like to attend the Masses at the basilica will start at 4 a.m. or 30 minutes before the first Mass, along Villalobos Street.
This year, the traditional procession of the image of the Black Jesus Christ has been canceled as mass gatherings remain prohibited due to the pandemic. (Ferdinand Patinio, PNA)