The Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene or the Quiapo Church in Manila starts today the eight-day novena for the annual Feast of the Black Nazarene on Jan. 9.
The traditional dressing of the image was held at the shrine of the basilica the other day.
In a reflection posted at the Radyo Veritas website, Quiapo Church parochial vicar Rev. Fr. Danichi Hui said that the dressing ritual marked the initial preparation for the feast.
“Ang Kanyang damit ay tanda at paalala sa atin. Ang kulay pulang kasuotan ay pagpapakita ng pag-ibig habang ang mga bulaklak at dekorasyon ay paalala ng Kanyang pasyon, paghihirap, at pagpapakasakit alang-alang sa sangkatauhan,” he said.
(His garment is a symbol and reminder for us. The red garment symbolizes love, while the flowers and decoration are reminders of His passion, suffering, and sacrifice for humanity)
According to Hui, the accessories can be considered as element of faith to remind every Catholic Filipinos about God’s love for mankind.
He said amid the changes in the celebration of the Black Nazarene feast because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the devotees should focus on continuously venerating Jesus Christ for His sacrifices for humanity.
The novena prayers end Jan. 8.
The traditional “pahalik” (kissing of the image), which is usually held at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila on Jan. 8, has been replaced with “pagpupugay” or “pagtanaw” (viewing). The pilgrim image was put on display at the balcony of the Quiapo Church in Manila on Dec. 27.
Quiapo Church said there will be no pahalik for Traslacion 2021 due to COVID-19 pandemic. The traditional procession of the Black Nazarene was also cancelled.
In 1607, Augustinian priests brought to the Philippines the life-sized, dark-colored and wooden sculpture of Jesus Christ from Mexico.
Millions of devotees attend Traslacion every year, making it as one of of the biggest annual processions in the Philippines.