CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews / 11 April) — The image of the Black Nazarene was brought out from its parish church on Good Friday evening as the Archdiocese seeks its protection against the highly contagious novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The small truck that carried the life-size image of the Black Nazarene and the small convoy of vehicles that accompanied it ran along empty streets and thoroughfares during the curfew hours.
The city government, cautious that it will not draw flak for allowing the motorcade, did not make public the route of the motorcade.
Police also drove away many devotees who tried to light candles along the thoroughfares threatening them with arrest for curfew violations.
A few who defied the police waited for hours only to find out the motorcade did not pass their way.
The city government has been careful on the Black Nazarene motorcade after it arrested a pastor and dispersed a religious gathering of 500 people for violation of social distancing.
“We do not want to be accused of favoring the Archdiocese. So we gave orders that people should not be allowed to gather,” a city official who asked not to be identified said.
The Black Nazarene is the most revered religious icon in Cagayan de Oro, drawing thousands of devotees during its feast day every January.
Father Der John Faborada, head of the Cagayan de Oro Archdiocese Social Action Center said they complied with the city government’s wishes on social distancing.
“We are complying with the city government to ensure people will stay home during the Holy week,” he said.
Faborada said the Archdiocese closed the doors of all of its churches and toned down all religious rites during the Holy Week.
He said parishioners were asked not to go to the usual Holy Week pilgrimages like the station of the Cross in Barangay Malasag and church visitations.
He said they brought out the image of the Black Nazarene “to seek its divine intercession to protect our residents from COVID-19.”
The motorcade of the Black Nazarene was the only religious event allowed by the city government during the Holy Week. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)