12 million devotees expected to join Nazarene feast

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Catholic devotees hold on the rope that pulls the carriage of the Black Nazarene during a procession in Manila, January 9, 2013.

MANILA, Dec. 31, 2013— Around 12 million devotees are expected to come and visit the Quiapo Church from January 1 up to January 9, the feast of Black Nazarene, according to church rector Msgr. Clemente Ignacio. 

The feast, traditionally celebrated on January 9, draws million of devotees from all over the country who walk with the image in procession barefooted as a sign of penance and thanksgiving for favors received. 

At least nine million devotees participated in last year’s procession traversing the 3 kms route from Luneta to Quiapo church that lasted 9 hours. 

In preparation for this year’s fiesta celebration, Quiapo church’s Fiesta Committee headed by Msgr. Ignacio met with the Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MMDRRMC) headed by MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino to discuss 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. 

Green celebration 

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

Local leaders and environmental network Eco Waste Coalition urged devotees and visitors to couple their devotion to the Black Nazarene with respect for the environment. 

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

“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,” Tin Vergara, Zero Waste Campaigner of the EcoWaste Coalition, said. 

“If the millions of devotees who come to Quiapo will simply not litter and avoid waste in all its forms, we’ll have a feast that is pleasing to the eyes and pleasing to the Lord,” she added. 

Barangay leaders echoed the same call urging devotees to act responsibly and not leave their garbage just anywhere. 

In past celebrations, truckloads of garbage were collected from Luneta to Quiapo 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. (CBCPNews)

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