Well being limits because of pandemic considerably curtailed attendance to annual Philippine procession, which normally attracts greater than 1,000,000 folks.

Hundreds of Catholic pilgrims gathered within the Philippine capital on Saturday to pay homage to the Black Nazarene statue of Jesus Christ, as well being restrictions as a result of persevering with coronavirus pandemic considerably curtailed the attendance to the occasion.

Recognized by its Spanish time period, “Translacion”, the annual procession in Manila is taken into account as one of many world’s largest reveals of Catholic devotion, attracting greater than 1,000,000 folks.

However all that has modified this 12 months because of COVID-19, which has up to now contaminated greater than 500,000 Filipinos and claimed the lives of virtually 10,000 others.

The devoted, carrying principally crimson and maroon shirts, gathered earlier than daybreak on Saturday to catch a glimpse of the statue because it was wheeled on a metallic float round Manila.

 

This 12 months, authorities have prohibited the pilgrims from attending the non secular gathering barefoot – a practice in earlier years. Devotees are additionally prohibited from carrying backpacks, and are solely allowed to hold clear water bottles.

Contained in the Quiapo church, solely 400 folks had been allowed at a time to attend the hourly service, and they’re required to put on face masks and face shields.

Social-distancing violations

As of 6am native time (22:00 GMT Friday), studies say at the very least 20,000 folks have gathered within the metropolis’s Quiapo district.

Police have arrange barricades across the church, the place the non secular icon is saved, to maintain folks from getting too near the procession.

However ABS-CBN information web site later reported that social distancing protocols weren’t correctly adopted, as the group started to converge nearer to get the picture of Christ.

Pilgrims consider that touching the picture of the Black Nazarene, or just being in its presence, can heal the sick or ship success.

The charred statue is believed to have survived a fireplace within the seventeenth century whereas on its strategy to the Philippines, which turned Asia’s bastion of Catholicism throughout 400 years as a Spanish colony.

Critics mentioned the procession, which normally takes about 20 hours, is a combination of superstition and pointless threat for contributors.

However Church officers say the observe is a vibrant expression of religion in an overwhelmingly Christian nation of greater than 105 million.