Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the “pahalik” (kissing of the image) during the Feast of the Black Nazarene on Jan. 9, 2021 has been cancelled.
Instead of the pahalik, Quiapo Church Rector Monsignor Hernando “Ding” Coronel said there will be a “pagpugay” or “pagtanaw” (viewing) of the image at the Quiapo Church.
“The pilgrim image of the Nazarene will be brought up on the balcony of the church fronting Plaza Miranda two weeks before the actual Feast Day,” he said.
“We will place it there the last week of December. It will be on display for two weeks so people will have more time to venerate,” added Coronel.
The pahalik is usually held at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila, a day before the feast day.
Last March, Quiapo Church announced that it has suspended the pahalik on the side of the church to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Coronel said based on their observation, the faithful are cooperative.
“We’ve been doing it already…so far it’s okay. Devotees don’t insist on touching the image,” he said.
“I also want to remind the faithful that their petitions will still be heard even if they don’t get to touch the image,” added Coronel.
The Quiapo Church earlier announced that the traditional procession of the Black Nazarene in January will no longer push through also due to the pandemic.
Quiapo Church and Manila city government have agreed to cancel the annual religious event due to the health crisis.