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The annual grand procession of the Black Nazarene called the “Traslacion” will still be suspended next year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Quiapo church official said in a report by Manila Bulletin.

Quiapo Church attached priest Fr. Earl Allyson Valdez, in an interview with DZBB, said the decision to suspend anew the annual event was made to prevent overcrowding.

“Simple reason, kinikilala po natin ang Traslación ay hindi lang simpleng fiesta subalit ito ay isang pambansang kaganapan. Unang una po, alam natin na iba’t ibang tao mula sa iba’t ibang sulok ng Pilipinas ay pupunta rito (We recognize that Traslación is not just a simple fiesta but a national event. First of all, we know that different people from different parts of the Philippines will come here),” he said.

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“Matagal pong nawala yan at siyempre marami ang gusto na magpanumbalik yan. Baka po tayo ay mabigla at hindi natin kayanin na ma-kontrol ang pagdagsa ng mga tao (It was not held for a long time and of course many people want to restore it. We may be overwhelmed and won’t be able to control the influx of people),” Valdez added.

He said the church is worried over the prevailing threat of Covid-19.

“Hindi pa rin po natin maitatanggi na maaari pa ring mahawa o makahawa ng Covid-19 at maaaring hindi magandang epekto sa ating kalusugan (We cannot deny that we can still be infected with Covid-19 and it may not have a good effect on our health),” he said.

The church official said devotees will be given the opportunity to touch the image of the Black Nazarene or the “pagbibigay pugay” instead of the traditional “pahalik” at the Quirino Grandstand.

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“Bagamat walang tradisyunal na prusisyon, ay ang lahat ng ating nakagawiang aktibidades na may kinalaman sa Kapistahan ng Itim na Nazareno ay matutuloy po (Although there will be no traditional procession, all our usual activities related to the Feast of the Black Nazarene will proceed),” Valdez said.

There will also be hourly masses at the Quiapo Church starting at 12 a.m. on January 9. Devotees who will not be able to go to Quiapo Church may also attend other masses that will be held in other churches in Metro Manila and Luzon.

“Ang aming layunin ay kung hindi makapupunta para sa Traslacion, ay ang Nazareno na mismo ang tutungo sa kani-kanilang mga lugar at simbahan (Our goal is that if people are unable to go to Quiapo Church for the Traslacion, the Black Nazarene itself will go to their respective places and churches),” Valdez said.

Meanwhile, those who are going to church are reminded to still wear their face masks inside and observe physical distancing.

This will be the third year the annual religious event was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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