MANILA - The parochial vicar of Quiapo Church on Tuesday appealed to government to expand to 50 percent its maximum capacity for the Feast of the Black Nazarene on Saturday.
The current maximum capacity for churches in areas under general community quarantine is 30 percent.
"Sana po ma-consider lang na mapayagan kahit 50 percent para mas marami ang ma-accommodate sa loob ng simbahan at tinititiyak naman namin na mayroong social distancing sa loob," Fr. Douglas Badong told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(I hope you can consider to allow even just 50 percent so we can accommodate more inside the church and we guarantee there will be social distancing.)
Fifteen masses will be held in the home of the Black Nazarene to prevent crowds as many are expected to gather in Quiapo Church, the Minor Basilica's rector Rev. Msgr. Hernando Coronel earlier said.
The image of the Black Nazarene is also put on display at the church's balcony.
"Imbis na pahalik merong pagpupugay na tinatawag. Idinungaw natin 'yung imahe ng Nazareno na siyang ginagamit sa prusisyon at ang mga tao o 24/7 pwedeng sumaglit dito sa simbahan, iwagay-way nila ang kanilang panyo bilang pagpupugay sa Poong Nazareno," Badong said.
(Instead of pahalik, there's what we call paying of tribute. We put the image of the Nazarene outside so people can pay a visit 24/7 wave their handkerchiefs as tribute to the Black Nazarene.)
Devotees are urged to join the festivities at home or in their local parish, Badong said.
"Sa mga deboto po, ibayong pagiingat po ang dapat nating pairalin, disiplina, magmalasakit po tayo sa bawat isa. Wag po natin pairalin ang tigas ng ulo dito sa araw na ito," he said.
(To devotees, let's observe discipline and care for each other. Don't be overcome by stubbornness on this day.)
"Wala mang prusisyon pero tuloy ang selebrasyon. Wala tayong ibang kakapitan kundi ang Poong Nazareno."
(Even though there's no procession, the celebration continues. We can only count on the Black Nazarene.)
Those who will go to Quiapo Church are prohibited to bring large images of the Black Nazarenes, he added.
"'Yung maliliit madali lang 'yun basta nabibibit. 'Yung malalaki, nakakarosa, naka-truck sana po wag natin muna ipilit. Jan. 9 lang naman po natin dinidiscourage na dalhin po 'yan," he said.
(Small ones are okay. Let's not bring big ones that are on trucks. It is only discouraged on Jan. 9.)