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At least 21 million expected at Black Nazarene transfer

MANILA (UCAN): Philippine Church officials are expecting at least 21 million devotees to attend this year’s observance of the Traslacion (solemn transfer) of the Black Nazarene in Manila on January 9.
At least five million were expected to join the Traslacion, the procession in which image of the Nazarene is transferred from the Quirino Grandstand to the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene—also called Quiapo Church—about three kilometres away.
The event, in which devotees participate barefoot, lasted 22 hours last year.
Father Danichi Hui, parochial vicar of Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, said the celebration, which started on 31 December 2018, said, “Last year, we had 21 million from the start of the celebration up to the end,” adding that the figures came from the government.
Father Hui said the number of devotees this year might even exceed last year.
Monsignor Hernando Coronel, the rector of the church, called on devotees to pray for the country’s political leaders during the religious observance.
“Part of the Christian faith is to pray for the leaders of our country, leaders in our society, including our president, everyone who serves in our government,” he said.
The call came amid tirades against the Church by Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte.
Similar Black Nazarene processions will be held simultaneously in the provinces of Davao, Samar, Nueva Vizcaya, Palawan, Bicol, and the city of Cagayan de Oro.
For the first time, the northern province of Batanes will also hold a procession, while Filipinos working in the United Arab Emirates are also scheduled to hold one.
“This is to show our love for the Nazarene who is one with us,” Monsignor Coronel said.
The Black Nazarene is a life-sized wooden sculpture of Jesus Christ carrying the cross. It was supposedly brought to Manila by Augustinian priests in 1607. 
Tradition holds that it got its dark colour after it was burned in a fire that hit the Spanish galleon transporting it.

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