Walk of Faith: New procession but same devotion

Published January 7, 2023, 2:52 PM

by Alexa Basa

  • Devotees of the Black Nazarene will join the Walk of Faith that will take the place of the Traslacion which will start after the midnight mass on Jan. 8.
  • For the third year, there will be no Traslacion or the procession that commemorates the transfer of the Black Nazarene statue from the Quirino Grandstand to its home in Quiapo church.
  • The difference between the Walk of Faith and the Traslacion are the absence of the Black Nazarene statue, and the date of the procession.
  • Devotees are encouraged to bring their own replicas of the Black Nazarene image.
SEA OF DEVOTEES – The andas of the Black Nazarene reaches the Ayala bridge during the Traslacion in 2020. (Mark Balmores)

It is that time of the year again when thousands of devotees are expected to fill many streets of Manila to celebrate the Feast of the Black Nazarene. Now a well-known and most-celebrated feast, the activities will take on a new form as the country is emerging from the hard restrictions of the pandemic.

For the third year, the Traslacion, the transfer of the Black Nazarene statue from the Quirino Grandstand to its home in Quiapo Church, will not be held. This is the procession where thousands of devotees jostle to get nearer to the image which they believe is miraculous and can heal the sick.

But the feast’s Traslacion will be different this year as a new procession called the Walk of Faith or “Lakad Pananampalataya” will be held after the midnight mass on Sunday, Jan. 8, in honor of the Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno or Black Nazarene at the Quirino Grandstand. It will end after about two hours at the Quiapo Church or also known as the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene following a similar route of the past years.

BACK TO HIS HOME – The Black Nazarene enters the Quiapo Church after 21 hours of Traslacion in 2019. (Jun Ryan Arañas/Manila Bulletin file photo)



What’s the difference between the Walk of Faith and the Traslacion processions?

The major difference will be the absence of the life-size image of Jesus Christ carrying the cross.  At the Traslacion processions before the pandemic, that iconic statue was the center of attention, with devotees trying to get nearest to the carriage just to touch it.

Instead, devotees will be bringing their own replicas of the image but have been reminded that those should not exceed two feet.

The absence of the Black Nazarene statue, which a large number of devotees visit every Friday throughout the year, is not expected to lessen the devotion usually displayed at the procession.

The other difference will be the date of the procession. The Walk of Faith will take place on Jan. 8 – a day before the Feast of the Black Nazarene. The Traslacion of the past years would start early morning of Jan. 9 – the feast day that celebrates the solemn transfer of the image from a church in Intramuros to the Quiapo church in 1767.

The walk is expected to last for only two hours, from two to four in the morning, unlike the Traslacion which usually takes almost a day before the procession completes. One of the “shortest” Traslacion was in 2020 which lasted only for 16 hours. That was months only before a pandemic was declared and the government implemented a strict lockdown that closed churches and other public places.

The Quiapo Church officials introduced the Walk of Faith as the Traslacion remains suspended due to the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic. The new procession is viewed by devotees as a transition to normal times when the Traslacion of the past years can be held again.

The image of the Black Nazarene, made by an unknown Mexican sculptor, arrived in the Philippines in 1606 and was enshrined at the Church of San Juan de Bautista at Bagumbayan (Luneta). It was transferred to the Church of San Nicolas de Tolentino in Intramuros and later to its current home in Quiapo Church in 1767, according to historical records.

 
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