Despite COVID-19 threat, motorcade for Black Nazarene set on Good Friday in CDO

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 6 April) — The life-sized image of the Black Nazarene will be brought out from the Lapasan Parish Church for a motorcade around the main streets here instead of the usual procession, the only publicly permitted religious event in the locality for the Holy Week as the nation grapples with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, religious and city officials said.

Monsignor Rey Manual Monsanto, of the Cagayan de Oro Archdiocese, said the religious image will be carried on the back of a pick-up or truck and will be paraded around the city.

He said a priest would ride with the Black Nazarene to give drive-by blessing to devotees in their houses.

Monsanto said the motorcade of the Black Nazarene would be similar to what Cebu City did last week, when it brought the Santo Niño image around its main thoroughfares on the back of a truck to seek God’s intervention to stop the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This would show that Jesus Christ did not leave us in these trying times. Our faith would help us survive this crisis, “ Monsanto said.

City Information Officer Maricel Casiño-Rivera said the event is being coordinated with the city government to ensure people will stay in their homes as the motorcade passes by.

She said there will be no other religious event during the Holy Week except for the Black Nazarene motorcade.

Local officials here have ordered the closure of all religious sites during the Holy Week to prevent the influx of devotees.

Barangay officials have ordered the closure of the Malasag walkway in Barangay Cugman where hundreds of devotees usually flock to pray the Stations of the Cross.

Aside from Malasag, officials also closed the route to the Lady of Guadalupe, a seven-river trek religious destination.

In Misamis Oriental, the provincial government has ordered close to the public the Divine Mercy Shrine in El Salvador City, whose 50-foot statue of Jesus Christ is visited annually by at least 200,000 devotees.

Also ordered close to public are the Our Lady of Lourdes Church, known for its “healing pool,” in Binuangan town and the Stations of the Cross in Sipaka Heights in Talisayan town, all in Misamis Oriental. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)