Black Nazarene procession back in CDO after two years of absence

Hundreds of devotees accompany the callejeron or the image of the Black Nazarene on its way to the Nazareno parish church on 9 January 2018. The annual procession has drawn thousands of devotees every year since the image was brought to Cagayan de Oro in 2009. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / January 6) — For the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic struck almost three years ago, the replica of the Black Nazarene will be brought out in a procession from the Metropolitan Cathedral in Gaston Park here to the parish church in Barangay Lapasan on foot on Monday dawn (January 9).

Thousands of devotees are expected to attend Cagayan de Oro’s version of the Traslacion or the procession in honor of the Feast of Black Nazarene, which is similar but much tamer than that of Quiapo.

“After two years of absence we cannot estimate the exact number of devotees but we expect it would be big considering the attendance in the mass last Christmas,” according to Monsignor Perseus Cabunoc, vicar general of the Cagayan de Oro Archdiocese.

The only one of its kind in Mindanao, the Black Nazarene procession was put on hold for the past two years amid fears of a spike in infections during the pandemic.

Lt. Col. Evan Viñas, Cagayan de Oro police spokesperson said they would meet with church officials today to discuss the security preparations for Monday’s Traslacion.

Viñas said it is expected that the mandatory “no backpacks and no umbrellas” rule would be implemented just like in the previous processions.

Cabunoc said the replica of the Black Nazarene will be brought out from the Jesus Nazareno parish church in Barangay Lapasan and would be ferried by vehicles to the Cagayan de Oro Metropolitan Cathedral Sunday night.

“The image will spend the night in the cathedral but the Traslacion would start around 5am after a Mass would be heard in its honor,” he said.

He said the life-size replica of a dark-skinned, kneeling Jesus Christ would be carried on the shoulders of “Hijos del Nazareno” (Sons of the Nazarene) members who usually wore yellow tshirts.

He said devotees are expected to join the procession bringing back the icon to its home, the Jesus Nazareno parish church in Barangay Lapasan.

“The city government has given a special permit to hold the procession but we are expected to implement strict health precautions,” Cabunoc said.

He reminded devotees that it would be mandatory for them to wear face masks if they join the procession or attend masses.

The last time the Traslacion took place in Cagayan de Oro was in January 2020, about two months before the pandemic that forced the government to impose lockdowns and restrictions on mass gatherings. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)