Idolatry, fanaticism, religious devotion. Refer to it in any way, but the number of individuals that will be joining the people swarm during the Feast of Blazk Nazarene procession on Thursday, January 9, is estimated to border the 12 million count.
Manila mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada ordered on Wednesday the suspension of one work day in all city government offices.
But excluded from the work suspension are those involved in the maintenance of peace and order, law enforcement, disaster and risk reduction management and health and sanitation. Classes on all levels in the city are also suspended.
Estrada orders suspension of work in Manila city government offices
Not included in the suspension order, Estrada said in Executive Order No. 42, are those involved in the maintenance of peace and order, traffic enforcement, disaster risk reduction and management, health and sanitation.
But the suspension of work in national government offices and in all private offices in Manila is left to the discretion of the heads of office or management.
Malacañang on Wednesday appealed to devotees to practice discipline during the conduct of the annual procession.
Authorities were enjoined to maintain health stations at strategic points of the procession route.
On Thursday, devotees of the Black Nazarene are expected to flock to Manila to take part in the traslacion, which highlights the event.
Meanwhile, Monsignor Clemente Ignacio, rector of the Quiapo church has requested the devotees or the “mamamasan” of the Black Nazarene to wait until the Mass on Thursday has ended before going up to the Quirino Grandstand.
“I have a request to the ‘mamamasan’ that will join the procession to wait for the Mass to end before going to the stage to help transfer the Black Nazarene to the ‘andas’ or carriage that will signal the start of the procession,” he said.
“I hope they respect the sacredness of the stage since the Mass had been officiated there,” he added.
In recent celebrations, devotees climb up the stage even after the officiating priest has yet announced that the Mass has ended.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle will lead the Mass at 6:00 a.m. on Thursday.
At the same time, Ignacio urged the people at the grandstand to properly dispose their trash.
“We are asking the public not to litter and put their garbage in trash bins,” he said. In previous years, tons of garbage were collected after the celebration.
Ignacio is expecting 12 million people to participate in the annual event.
After the Mass, the “traslacion” or the procession will start, from Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park to Quiapo Church in Plaza Miranda.
Organizers estimate that the image will be inside the minor basilica 12 hours after the march started, which is three hours longer than the procession last year which lasted for nine hours.
This year’s celebration effect changes in the route as coordinators decided to use the Jones bridge instead of the McArthur bridge due to its instability issue.
Likewise, organizers also decided to revive the meeting of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ or “dungaw” where the procession will temporarily stop in front of the San Sebastian Church.
Ignacio explained they discovered that in the old times, its part of the tradition of the procession for the images to meet outside the said church.
Side note here. The 12 million estimate dwarfs by four times the number of attendees during the Penafrancia festivities in Naga city that peaked during its tri-centennial celebration.