Church vicar: Devotees may touch Black Nazarene image during procession

UNLIKE during the Thanksgiving Procession, devotees will continue to be allowed to come near and touch the image of the Black Nazarene during the annual procession in Manila on January 9.

Speaking to devotees ahead of the blessing of their banners on late Saturday, January 4, Quiapo Church Parochial Vicar Fr. Douglas Badong assured them that they will still be allowed to approach the image of the black Christ during the Traslacion 2020.

"For those who may be worried as they have been used to getting near the Nazarene, you can still do so during the Traslacion. The Thanksgiving is different from the Traslacion," said Badong.

"They will not be prevented to go near and touch the Black Nazarene," he added.

Nevertheless, the priest appealed to devotees to keep the procession as orderly as the Thanksgiving Procession.

"If we were able to do it (orderly) during the Thanksgiving Procession, we can also have these changes for the Traslacion," said Badong.

During the Thanksgiving Procession, devotees were prevented by uniformed personnel from getting near the carriage of the Black Nazarene.

Similarly, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Chief Brigadier General Debold Sinas said on Saturday that devotees will be barred from getting in front of the carriage in a bid to speed up the annual religious procession.

Yearly, millions of devotees join the annual procession and, in the process, claw their way to the carriage in a bid to touch or wipe the image of the black Christ.

Meanwhile, Quiapo Church Rector Monsignor Hernando Coronel said Saturday's activity marked the first time that they held a separate event for the blessing of "istandarte" or banners of the groups or localities of devotees of the Black Nazarene.

He said he and three other priests blessed about 530 "istandarte" of the balangays or localities or groups of devotees on Saturday night.

"We have been reaching out to our balangays, through the balangay visitations over the previous months. The blessing took more than an hour after the mass," said Coronel. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)