At least 100 volunteers and personnel of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) will be stationed in selected key areas in and around the churches celebrating the feast of the Black Nazarene. “On top of that, 100 more volunteers and emergency vehicles will be on standby in case the demand for personnel is required,” PRC chairman and CEO Senator Richard Gordon said that annually, they provide first aid and emergency medical care to individuals suffering from injuries brought by accidents that occur during the event. For this year, PRC will provide first aid stations, emergency vehicles including ten ambulance units, fire trucks, and other rescue vehicles to cater to the needs of those who will attend the celebration. All the PRC assets will be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) as they assist the devotees throughout the event. This year, even with the pandemic, PRC continues to be part of the Quiapo feast. “Even before the pandemic, PRC has been providing humanitarian service to ensure the safety of the people. The current pandemic will not stop PRC from providing basic health care services in times of emergencies,” Gordon said. The PRC also encourages the public, especially the immunocompromised, to attend online Masses instead. PRC also reminds Nazareno devotees to follow basic safety protocols, such as wearing a face mask and face shield in public areas and observing physical distancing throughout the event to help stop the spread of the virus. The Feast of the Black Nazarene is celebrated by millions of Catholics from all over the country through the celebration of Mass and partaking in the procession known as the Traslacion. We have seen the rise in the number of the Nazarene devotees participating in the annual feast, with record-breaking numbers of people joining the Traslacion reaching millions seen each year. Due to Covid-19, the organizing committee announced major changes in this year’s celebration of the feast. The annual Traslacion procession is cancelled. This is to avoid the possibility of the feast’s turning into a Covid-19 super spreader event. On the day of the feast, the San Sebastian Church and the Black Nazareno in Quiapo, together with the Our Lady of the Pillar Parish Church in Sta. Cruz, will be celebrating hourly masses from 12 a.m. -11 p.m. Masses will be held in the three churches and will be broadcast live on selected prayer stations within the traditional procession route. Devotees can also attend virtual Mass, as the Masses will also be aired via the internet. For devotees who will attend the Mass physically in one of the three churches, the Inter-Agency Task Force only allows 30 percent seating capacity. Designated Mass areas will also be available for those who would not be accommodated inside the church.


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