By Christina I. Hermoso with a report from Analou de Vera
Large crowds of devotees of the revered Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno from different parts of the country are expected to take part in the annual procession of replicas of the Black Nazarene starting at 1:30 p.m. today through the streets of Quiapo, Manila as a prelude to the grand Traslacion procession on Jan. 9.
Hundreds of devotees have been converging at the Quiapo Church of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene or St. John the Baptist Parish since Dec. 31 for the annual parish thanksgiving mass and procession as well as to attend the novena masses at 6 p.m. which will be celebrated until tomorrow.
This afternoon’s procession of the replicas of the Black Nazarene “will showcase not only centuries-old personal collections of sacred images that have been cared for and passed on from generations of devotees but the Filipinos’ unwavering faith, trust, and devotion to the Black Nazarene,” organizers said.
Fr. Douglas Badong, parochial vicar of the Quiapo Church, said they hope devotees “will have a more spiritual journey this year that will help strengthen and deepen their faith in the Black Nazarene.”
Tomorrow, devotees will gather at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila where the Black Nazarene will be brought for an overnight vigil and a series of activities that starts at 5 p.m. before the early morning mass and grand procession that will bring the image back to the Quiapo Church the next day.
The Traslacion procession recalls the transfer of the Black Nazarene image from the Recollect Church in Intramuros, Manila to the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in 1787.
This year marks the eleventh time that the Black Nazarene procession will start outside the Quiapo Church. The first time was in 2007 during the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the feast.
The Manila Police District-Traffic Enforcement Unit has advised motorists and commuters to expect heavy traffic and take alternate routes during the procession.
It said that Katigbak and South Drives will be closed today starting at 10 p.m. The northbound lane of Quezon Boulevard and McArthur Bridge from the Bonifacio Shrine and Taft Ave. from Ayala Boulevard to Bonifacio Shrine will also be closed.