Equal blessings for devotees at home and physically present in Black Nazarene feast – Quiapo Church official

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The Feast of the Black Nazarene is here, and although the Traslacion or the traditional grand procession will not take place due to the pandemic, a church official assured devotees, they can still enjoy this year's blessings while safe at home. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 8) — The Feast of the Black Nazarene is here, and although the Traslacion or the traditional grand procession will not take place due to the pandemic, a church official assured devotees, they can still enjoy this year's blessings while safe at home.

"Whether you are physically present sa church or nasa bahay, same blessing ang matatanggap po ng mga tao lalo na kung sasamahan ito ng pananampalataya," Quiapo Church parochial vicar Fr. Douglas Badong told CNN Philippines' The Final Word on Friday.

[Translation: Whether you are physically present in the church or at home, the people will receive the same blessings especially if they celebrate with faith.]

The annual procession, which consistently draws in millions of participants, comes with the belief that touching the image of the Black Nazarene will bring about miracles.

The Manila City government canceled the Traslacion but visitors are still allowed to attend mass at the Quiapo Church. Badong said they have prepared to keep the celebration safe amid the expected influx of devotees.

Continuing the faith

For Bro. Boy Jongco, a member of the Hijos Del Nazareno since 1956, he respects the local government's restrictions amid the health crisis, despite not being able to ride on the carriage transporting the sacred image.

The Hijos Del Nazareno are the devotees who accompany the image of the Black Nazarene in its long journey while catching handkerchiefs or small towels of marching participants and wiping them on the statue to deliver the blessings it offers. It is a big responsibility, Jongco said, that requires a strong dedication to fulfill the duties of the church.

Jongco urged his fellow members of the faithful to continue to hope for salvation and prosperity this year amid the pandemic.

"Sana magkaisa ng panalangin na itong taon na ito, hangga’t maari ay pagtulUngan natin, pagkaisahan muna natin ang sakripisyo nang...matamo naman natin ang ika nga, kaligtasan at kaginhawaan itong taon na ito," said Jongco.

[Traslacion: I hope we will unite in prayer this year that we may help each other in our sacrifices so we may achieve salvation and prosperity.]

Singer Angeline Quinto is also no stranger to the Traslacion spectacle, as she grew up admiring and participating in the procession. In fact, she said she partly owes the beginning of her successful career to her devotion to the Black Nazarene and the time she attended mass at Quiapo Church when she was accepted in an important audition.

"Nagkataon, 'yung holy water, sumakto sa bibig ko (during mass) so parang hindi ko alam kung naging sign 'yun... Hindi ko inexpect na magiging grand winner ako ng Star Power," she shared, referring to the national singing competition she won in 2011 that brought her to the spotlight.

[Translation: There was an instance when the holy water being sprinkled landed in my mouth and I'm not sure if that was a sign. I did not expect to later become the grand winner of Star Power.]

Quinto said for the time being, attending mass outside Quiapo Church would be enough for her given the circumstances.

"Lahat naman po ng nangyayari ngayon, kung lahat tayo ay magtutulungan alam kong malalampasan po natin 'yan," she said.

[Translation: Everything that is happening now, if we all work together, we can get through them.]