Last year, the traslacion (solemn transfer) of the Black Nazarene (Poong Itim Na Nazareno) took only 16 hours to finish— the shortest in recent years.
In fact, in 2016, it took 20 hours for the image to be returned to Quiapo Church, 22 hours in 2017 and 2018, and 21 hours in 2019. And despite the long hours it takes, devotees still religiously join the procession every year to show their faith and devotion to the Black Nazarene. However, this 2021, the traslacion will be an entirely different celebration than the previous years.
Because of the still lurking coronavirus, authorities from the church have decided to cancel all events traditionally done on the eve of January 9 and the day itself. To prevent the virus from spreading, the pahalik (kissing of the image) has been postponed— a pagtanaw (viewing) and pagpugay (paying tribute) will be done instead. A nine-day novena, which started on December 31, will also be held.
Traslacion in NCR and South Luzon
As many still look forward to seeing the image of the Black Nazarene in person, the Quiapo Church or Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene will be holding a “localized traslacion” for devotees instead. This means that the image will be brought to certain areas in Metro Manila and Southern Luzon so that the public may be able to see the image up close without flocking in large crowds to the church.
The schedule of the localized traslacion is as follows:
- Jan. 4 – Manila City Hall
- Jan. 5. – Bureau of Fire Protection National Headquarters in Quezon City
- Jan. 6 – Manila Police District Headquarters
- Jan. 7 – Barangay 394, Manila
- Jan. 8 – NCS-BEC’s Community, Sto. Domingo Shrine, Quezon City
- Jan. 4 – San Roque Parish/Porta Vaga, Cavite City
- Jan. 5 – San Isidro Parish, Las Piñas City
- Jan. 6 – Sto. Nino Parish, Signal Village, Taguig City
- Jan. 7 – Baclaran Church
Additional Masses at Quiapo Church
To further prevent large crowds from gathering at the church, the Quiapo Church will be holding more masses until January 9. Novena masses will be celebrated by Bishops Bartolome Santos, Honesto Ongtioco, Roberto Gaa, Pablo David, Teodoro C. Bacani (retired), Mylo Vergara, Buenaventura Famadico, Reynaldo Evangelista, and Auxiliary Bishop Nolly Buco. (Read: Recap: 5 Issues Faced by the PH Catholic Church in 2020)
Meanwhile, the January 9 Mass will be officiated by Archdiocese of Manila Apostolic Administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo. It will be held at 4:00 in the morning. (Read: Bishop Pabillo Recovers From COVID-19)
The Sta. Cruz and San Sebastian Churches (both near the Quiapo Church) will also be holding Masses on January 9 to help control the crowds. Only 30% of the full capacity of the minor basilica will be occupied.