6M to 8M people to join Black Nazarene feast

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

OFFICIALS of the Quiapo Church (Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene) in Manila estimate that around six to eight million devotees will flock to the annual feast day on January 9.

“It might still be the same but I don’t know if there will be an increase,” said Quiapo Church Rector Monsignor Clemente Ignacio in a press conference Thursday.

Because of this, the priest said the organizers decided to hold a dry-run at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Senior Superintendent Ronald Estilles, chief of the Manila Police District directorial staff, said the purpose of the dry run is for the police authorities to have a “feel” of what will happen on the actual feast day.

For his part, Quiapo Church committee on operations Center head Fr. Ric Valencia said organizers are also looking to prevent one of the biggest misfortunes that happened last year: the breaking down of the tires of the “andas” or carriage bearing the revered image.

“We replaced the tires with three solid tires being used in forklifts. There are also six bearings on the sides, so that in case something happens, it would still roll,” said Valencia.

Last year, the wheels of the “andas” broke down just several meters away from the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta. This resulted in the further delay in the usually day-long annual procession.

“For them (devotees), the andas is also sacred. But they eventually pulled it after they were given signal,” said Valencia.

On January 9, the translacion or the transfer of the centuries old image of the Black Nazarene from Luneta to Quiapo Church will be reenacted starting at 7 a.m. This will be preceded by a mass to be offered by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta.

More than 3,000 uniformed men from the National Capital Region, as well as the Armed Forces of the Philippines will be deployed to provide security to the millions of devotees along Quiapo Church and Rizal Park. (HDT/FP/Sunnex)

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