Take responsibility: Black Nazarene devotees urged to observe Traslacion 2021 at home

January 8, 2021 - 10:18 AM
Black Nazarene devotees
Black Nazarene devotees outside the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila to celebrate the first Friday mass on Sept. 4, 2020. (The STAR/Miguel de Guzman)

An environmental group and a group of health care professionals reminded the devotees of the Black Nazarene to observe the traditional activities for Traslacion 2021 at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Every January 9, devotees of the Black Nazarene commemorate Traslacion or the transfer of the venerated image from Intramuros, Manila to its home in Quiapo Church or  Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, known canonically as the Parish of Saint John the Baptist.

In place of the annual Traslacion grand procession, more than a dozen masses would be held at the Quiapo Church this year.

The image will also be on display for the “pagpupugay” (paying tribute) and “pagtanaw” or viewing of the image.

Other parishes are also encouraged to observe the Catholic tradition in their own communities.

EcoWaste Coalition, a waste and pollution watchdog, urged the devotees “to respect the cancellation of the ‘Traslacion’ procession and ‘pahalik’ jointly agreed by the local government and church authorities to prevent the mass gathering of people amid the continuing threat of COVID-19 transmission.”

“As the Black Nazarene lives in the heart of the believer, we request the devotees to celebrate and renew their devotion to the Black Nazarene by praying at home or by attending masses in their local parishes instead of going to Quiapo to avoid large crowds,” Jove Benosa, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition said Thursday.

The Healthcare Professionals Alliance against COVID-19 also cautioned the devotees of the new variant of COVID-19.

“May matinding banta ang COVID-19 variant galling sa UK na maaaring nandito na sa Pilipinas. Mas mabilis itong makahawa at kumalat,” the organization said.

It urged church-goers and devotees to continue the Catholic tradition through prayers or attend online masses at the safety of their own homes instead.

“Ang pagtugon sa panawagang ito ay tanda rin ng pagmamahal natin sa ating kapwa at sumasabuhay ng ating pananampalataya,” it said.

For families and individuals who still wish to go to Quiapo Church, the Department of Health reminded them of the following minimum public health protocols:

  1. Ensure that there is proper ventilation in the place of gathering.
  2. Always observe physical distancing of at least a meter.
  3. Wear your face mask and face shield pro0perly.
  4. Keep visits to the church at least 15 minutes only.
  5. Always sanitize or wash your hands after touching surfaces.
  6. Follow other health protocols implemented by the church and other local officials.

Less waste

EcoWaste also advised them to take responsibility and be mindful of the waste they generate.

“As stewards of Mother Earth, we urge everyone, especially the devotees of the Black Nazarene, to take responsibility in ensuring that garbage will not again sully this celebration of faith,” Benosa said.

“We hope that this year’s celebration held against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic which has infected and killed thousands of Filipinos will adhere to the required health as well as environmental rules,” he added.

The organization also suggested the use of recyclable containers when offering food and water to devotees.

“We appeal to benevolent individuals and groups who will offer food and water to the devotees to opt for reusable containers to reduce the disposal of single-use paper or plastic containers, which are often left in the streets and haul straight to the landfill.  For the sake of our ailing planet, please switch to reusables that can be reused many times over,” said Benosa.

The environment coalition hoped that the devotees and other people who will visit the Quiapo Church will keep this year’s feast clean from garbage and COVID-19 safe.

During the celebrations in 2019 and 2020, Manila’s Department of Public Services collected around 99 truckloads or 387 tons of garbage, and 68 truckloads or 330 tons of garbage, respectively.