Quiapo church holds first fiesta mass sans crowd

Published January 9, 2022, 1:14 PM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

For the first time, no public mass was held at Quiapo Church in Manila during the Feast of the Black Nazarene on Sunday, Jan. 9.

Mark Balmores/ File photo/ MANILA BULLETIN

This, amid the continued threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Masses were held online to enable devotees to still virtually join the celebration.

In his 4 a.m. Mass, Manila Archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula assured devotees who were saddened for being unable to physically go to Quiapo, that the Black Nazarene will still be with them.

“Although not all of us can visit here in Quiapo, the senor himself visits our families and homes. Even if we can’t get close to his image, He is the one who is approaching us now. He enters our hearts and strengthens our hope. He intercedes with us and binds us in love,” he said in Filipino.

Advincula also assured the faithful that Jesus knows what they are going through.

“He understands the suffering of the sick and those imprisoned in quarantine, He feels the fatigue and stress of healthworkers, He understands the efforts of the poor, He sees the sacrifice of the faithful public servant, He hears the lamentations and grievances of OFWs…he feels for us and he sympathizes with us,” he said.

This year’s celebration was also the second time that traslacion or procession of the Black Nazarene image was not held.

Authorities earlier banned public Masses in Quiapo Church and other activities for the feast of the Black Nazarene amid the spike of coronavirus cases in the country.

The government’s COVID-19 task force ordered the closure of the minor basilica from Jan. 7 until Jan. 9, the feast day of the Nazarene.

The national task force also discouraged devotees from gathering in the premises of the church on the said dates and attend livestreamed Masses instead.