This year, the feast of the Black Nazarene will be observed with a difference: There will be no morning Mass at Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park.
Instead, the Mass to celebrate the Feast of the Black Nazarene will be held at midnight on January 9.
Msgr. Clemente Ignacio, rector of Quiapo Church, on Monday said they decided to have the Mass at midnight so that the attention of devotees will be focused on the Eucharistic celebration, not on the procession.
In previous years, Eucharistic Masses were disrupted by unruly devotees.
Last year, the Mass officiated by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle was stopped after a group of devotees made its way to the stage right before Holy Communion.
Because of the melee, the cardinal had to quietly finish the Mass backstage, attended only by a handful of priests and lay people.
This year, organizers scheduled a liturgy on January 9 from 5:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. to be led by Tagle, who will give the homily during liturgy, Ignacio said.
The annual procession or traslacion will start at 6 a.m.
Church officials expect that more people will join this year’s procession.
In 2014, at least two million devotees were estimated to have joined the procession, which lasted 22 hours.
The pahalik (kissing of the Black Nazarene image) at Quirino Grandstand will begin at 1 p.m. on January 8 while the vigil will start at 5:30 p.m. until 11:30 p.m.
After the Mass, the vigil will continue from 1 a.m. until 5:30 a.m. of January 9 and will be followed by the liturgy.
Ignacio said more devotees will likely join the procession this year because the feast day falls on a Friday, which is also the regular day of devotion for the Black Nazarene.
The procession will begin at Quirino Grandstand, turn right to Katigbak Drive thru Padre Burgos Street.; left to Taft Avenue thru Jones Bridge; right to Escolta Street; left to Carlos Palanca Street thru Quezon Bridge; left to Quezon Boulevard; right to Arlegui Street; right to Fraternal Street; right to Vergara Street; left to Duque de Alba Street; left to Castillejos Street; left to Farnecio Street; right to Arlegui Street; left to Nepomuceno Street; left to Aguila Street; right to Carcer Street; right to Hidalgo thru Plaza del Carmen; left to Bilibid Viejo thru G. Puyat; left to Guzman Street; right to Hidalgo Street; left to Barbosa Street; right to Globo de Oro thru under Quezon Bridge; right to Palanca Street; right to Villalobos thru Plaza Miranda; and ingress at Quiapo Church.
Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada said a liquor ban will be implemented in Manila on Friday and during the five-day visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines from January 15 to 20.
The city government of Manila has also suspended classes and work in some government offices, including City Hall.
Meanwhile, pollution watchdog EcoWaste Coalition said the feast of the Black Nazarene should be in line with the theme of the papal visit, “Mercy and Compassion,” and should reflect the first commemoration of the Zero Waste Month held in January beginning in 2015.
The group noted that “every year, the procession of the Black Nazarene attracts millions of barefooted devotees and enterprising food and beverage vendors who sadly leave in their trail voluminous amounts of trash at the end of the day.”
Last year, at least 10 million traslacion participants left more than 330 tons of garbage.
With James Konstantin Galvez