ORGANIZERS of the annual procession of the Black Nazarene expect more devotees to join the Traslacion on January 9 but are optimistic the parade will end faster than in previous years.
In a press conference, Quiapo Church Rector Msgr. Ding Coronel said based on the number of people who attended the first Friday and Sunday masses for this month, they believe there will be more devotees who will join the Traslacion as compared to the estimated 4 million last year.
“We expect millions… it should be more than last year,” he said.
Quiapo Church Parochial Vicar Fr. Douglas Badong expressed the same view.
“We are not really wishing for more or less devotees. If anyone comes, thank you. If they don’t come, it’s okay. We just hope that there will be more devotees than so called fanatics,” added Badong.
Last year’s procession took 21 hours and 13 minutes to finish.
Badong said changes in the route of the procession this year – the image of Christ will pass through the Ayala Bridge instead of the Jones Bride, McArthur Bridge and Quezon Bridge – will shorten the procession time.
“Based on the route, it will be faster… but it still depends on the attitude of the mamamasans and if they will cooperate,” said Badong.
Coronel expects the introduction of the “andas wall” by the PNP, wherein uniformed personnel will secure the front and sides of the carriage of the Black Nazarene, to help speed up the procession.
“I’m praying. Let’s see if this new approach will succeed or not. We leave it to the Nazareno. But we will try,” Coronel said.
The annual procession of the Black Nazarene around the streets of Manila commemorates the transfer of the image of the black Christ to the Quiapo Church back in 1607.
Ahead of the annual grand procession, there will be a blessing of all replicas of the Black Nazarene today at 2 pm. The event gives owners of replica images the opportunity to have their images blessed and displayed for public veneration ahead of the actual Traslacion.