12-M Black Nazarene devotees expected to join celebration

January 2, 2014 7:10 am 

MANILA Jan. 1 — Organizers of the Feast of Black Nazarene are expecting at least 12 million devotees to join the nine-day celebration starting on January 1.

The figure will comprise those that are expected to come and visit the Quiapo Church from January 1 up to January 9.

The highlight of the festivity is the procession on Thursday, (January 9), the Feast of the Black Nazarene where millions of devotees from all over the country will be walking with the image barefooted as a sign of penance and thanksgiving for favors received.

In an article posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) news website, Msgr. Clemente Ignacio said he has met with the Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MMDRRMC) headed by MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino to come up with plans on how to manage security, emergency traffic and crowd control during the traslacion.

The traslacion is the transfer of the miraculous image of the Black Nazarene from the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta to Quiapo Church.

In 2013, at least nine million devotees joined the procession traversing the 3 kms route from Luneta to the Basilica in Plaza Miranda that lasted nine hours.

Meanwhile, environmentalists and community leaders around Quiapo area are calling for green celebration of the feast.

“Combining our people’s amazing devotion to the Black Nazarene with action respecting, nurturing and defending Mother Earth will be a powerful force of hope and deliverance against those who trash and ruin the environment,” said Tin Vergara, Zero Waste Campaigner of the EcoWaste Coalition.

The call came as devotees start the first day of the nine-day novena prayers leading to the fiesta celebration on January 9.

Likewise, barangay leaders urged Black Nazarene followers to be responsible by not leaving their garbage anywhere.

In past celebrations, truckloads of garbage were collected in the areas of the celebration that include cigarette butts, candy and snack wrappers, plastic bags, cups, bottles and straws, styrofoam containers and bamboo skewers that often cause injuries among barefoot devotees. (PNA)

FPV/FGP/UTB

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