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Church wants Traslacion as national feast 

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The rector of the Quiapo Church on Tuesday hoped that the next feast of the Black Nazarene would be celebrated nationwide as they await the approval of the Vatican, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

"We pray that the next time we are gathered here, the Jan. 9 will be declared by the Church as a national feast in honor of the Black Nazarene," Quiapo Church rector Fr. Jun Sescon said in his speech at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila.

The Catholic priest noted that they are waiting for the approval of the Vatican on the proposal to make Jan. 9 a nationwide religious event.

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"We want it to be a national feast for the Church, so it is up to the bishops and the Pope to discuss this," Sescon added.

In July last year, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) already approved the proposal on the matter during its 126th Plenary Assembly.

The feast of the black Jesus Christ is an annual event in Manila, where millions of devotees and pilgrims join the "Traslacion" or the grand procession which starts from Quirino Grandstand in Luneta to the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, commonly known as the Quiapo Church.

Similar activities in honor of the Black Nazarene have been held in other parts of the country which is being celebrated early part of the year.

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The CBCP approved the petition to declare the Quiapo Church as a "national shrine" in July 2023.

The minor basilica will be formally declared as a “national shrine” on Jan. 29.

A national shrine is a Catholic church or other sacred place which has met certain requirements. The honor is given by the National Episcopal Conference to recognize the church's special cultural, historical, and religious significance.

On May 10, 2023, Manila Archbishop Cardinal Jose Advincula elevated the church to the status of an archdiocesan shrine.

In 1987, then Pope and now Saint John Paul II elevated the church to the status of a minor basilica.

Traslacion incident free so far

The Philippine National Police (PNP), meanwhile said the ongoing 'Traslacion" is relatively peaceful as of Tuesday noon.

PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo, in a press briefing at Camp Crame, Quezon City, said they are still to record any "significant incident" except cases of minor injuries reported and attended by the Department of Health (DOH).

These injuries include cases of dizziness experienced by some devotees who took it to arrive very early at the Quirino Grandstand, Rizal Park to get a glimpse of the Black Nazarene icon, minor wounds that include scratches in the feet and legs, sprains, abdominal pain and hypertensions.

"So more or less as of 11:30 a.m. our reported cases for  minor illnesses and injuries are placed at 290," Fajardo said in Filipino.

She added that the number of security personnel deployed for the proceedings have reached 18,000, along with 4,000 "force multipliers", bringing the number of people guarding the Traslacion and its related activities to 22,000.

Fajardo said an estimated 2.1 million devotees attended all Traslacion-related activities so far.

This includes people who attended the Mass at the Quirino Grandstand, the Traslacion itself and those who attended activities in Quiapo Church related to the religious event.

Faster movement

Meanwhile, Fajardo said the movement of the "Andas" or the carriage of the Black Nazarene image moved faster compared to past years.

The "Andas" departed without any incident at the Quirino Grandstand at around 5 a.m.

"And so far according to the DD (District Director Col. Arnold Thomas Ibay) of MPD (Manila Police District), the movement of the "Andas" was much faster and smoother due to its redesign. So we expect it to arrive in Quiapo Church by 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.," Fajardo said.

As part of security measures, Fajardo said they are now implementing the "one entry and multiple exits" in the vicinity of Quiapo Church.

X-ray machines were also deployed to scan the belongings of devotees before they can enter the church, Fajardo added

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