Everything you need to know about Traslacion 2020

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 6) - On January 9, millions of Filipino devotees will flock once again to Manila to witness the traditional transferring of the venerated image of Black Nazarene from Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo Church.

Around 4 million devotees attended the 21-hour procession last year with hopes of experiencing miracles from the statue of Jesus Christ.

Here is everything that you need to know on the upcoming Traslacion 2020:

How did the Black Nazarene find its way to the Quiapo Church?

In an interview by the Catholic News Agency, Quiapo Church or the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene rector Msgr. Jose Clemente Ignacio said that the Black Nazarene was brought by Augustinian Recollect missionaries from Mexico in 1606.

The dark image of Jesus Christ carrying a cross with one knee bended was first enshrined on the same year in St. John the Baptist Church at Luneta and was moved to a bigger church nearby two years later.

Pope Innocent X specially recognized the Philippines’ strong devotion to the Black Nazarene of Manila in 1650, Ignacio said.

The image was later transferred to its permanent home, the Quiapo Church.

In 1880, Pope Pius VII gave the image his Apostolic Blessing and granted plenary indulgence to those who will pray before it.

A plenary indulgence removes all the temporal punishment due to forgiven sin.

Why is the Black Nazarene believed to be miraculous?

Filipino Catholics venerate the Black Nazarene with the belief that the image can bring miracles, as it has endured fires that destroyed its home church, two earthquakes, floods, and even bombings from the World War II.

In 2019, Manila Archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle stressed in behalf of devotees that veneration comes with “true love, honest service, and unity” with Jesus, instead of mere fanaticism. 

What’s the story behind the statue's dark color?

There are many tales on why the centuries-old statue of Jesus Christ— now more than 400 years old — became dark. One of the most popular is that the galleon carrying it caught fire which led to the burning of the statue. However, Msgr. Sabino Vengco, from the Loyola School of Theology of the Ateneo de Manila University debunked all these stories and said that the wood of the Black Nazarene image has always been dark.

Vengco told CNN Philippines before that the Black Nazarene was sculpted from mesquite wood, akin to the local kamagong wood which has a dark color.

Why is the Translacion held every January 9?

It was on January 9 when the Black Nazarene was transferred from the possession of the Recolletos congregation to the Quiapo Church. Yet, Vengco said that the liturgical celebration of the Black Nazarene should be in connection with the Lenten season instead.

For 2020, authorities are expecting the procession to start around 4:30 a.m.

A day before the Traslacion, thousands of devotees line up at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila for hours to participate in the ceremonial "Pahalik" or kissing and touching of the feet of the Black Nazarene.

What will be the route for Traslacion 2020?

There will be a slight change in the route for the annual Traslacion. The Quezon Bridge, McArthur Bridge, and Jones Bridge, through which the procession usually traverse, are currently under construction. The Metro Manila police says there will now be 14 segments from the previous 10, but the travel will be shorter from 6.19 kilometers to 6.16 kilometers.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority provided a list of areas where the image of the Black Nazarene will pass:

What security preparations are in place this year?

Personnel from the Philippine National Police, NCRPO, the Bureau of Fire Protection, MMDA, the Philippine Coast Guard, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and volunteers will secure the procession from the Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo Church.

A total of 2,144 policemen will form an “andas wall” to secure the “andas” or the vehicle which will carry the Black Nazarene.

These policemen will be part of the 13,573-strong personnel who will man the route as early as 5:00 p.m. of January 8.

READ: Authorities beef up security for Traslacion 2020

Former NCRPO chief Guillermo Eleazar, who now heads the PNP Directorial Staff, earlier said they have coordinated with the National Telecommunications and the Department of Information and Communications to jam telecommunication in parts of Manila City during the procession as these can be used as triggers for explosives.

During the procession, ambulances and volunteers will be deployed on the ground to provide assistance, according to the Philippine Red Cross. It had also coordinated with the Philippine General Hospital and other nearby hospitals along the route.

READ: LIST: Traslacion 2020 do's and don’ts

CNN Philippines' Vince Ferreras, Lara Tan and Glee Jalea contributed to this report