Jones bridge to receive Quiapo devotees anew

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MANILA, Jan. 7, 2014—Santa Cruz’s General Douglas MacArthur Bridge is still off-limits to devotees of the Black Nazarene during the Quiapo Fiesta on Friday, Jan. 9, putting Jones bridge on the pilgrims’ main route.

This annual popular devotion draws countless believers to Quiapo Church every January. (Photo: Raymond Sebastian)

Unsound structure

In a recent press briefing hosted by the Quiapo Fiesta committee, Msgr. José Clemente Ignacio announced that the procession will be rerouted like last year to the nearby Jones Bridge, given MacArthur Bridge’s “poor structural integrity,” Church-run Radyo Veritas reported.

The Santa Cruz Bridge, which spans the Pasig River, linking the North and South Manila districts, is part of the traditional route of the Traslación, the ceremonial transfer of the revered image of Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno from Quirino Grandstand in Luneta, to its sanctuary inside the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo.

Fiesta schedule

Moreover, Clemente, who administers Quiapo Church, officially called St. John the Baptist Parish, regretted that portions of Quirino Grandstand usually reserved for “Pahalik,” the public veneration of the image, have to be fenced off to give way to repair works needed in preparation for the Mass to be presided over in the same area by Pope Francis on Jan. 18.

“There are minor adjustments in our program. The committee has decided to hold the overnight vigil from sundown to sunrise … The usual morning mass is scheduled at midnight,” he shared.

Clemente added that the procession will begin at daybreak, around 6 a.m., right after the liturgical rites to be led by Manila Archbishop Luís Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle.

‘No classes’

Meanwhile, Manila Mayor Joseph. Ejercito Estrada signed Executive Order No. 41 suspending classes in all levels in the city on Jan. 9 in anticipation of the millions of devotees joining the procession.

“Every year, thousands of pilgrims from all over the country come to Manila to be part of the procession of the Black Nazarene. Millions of people are expected to join the celebration. The suspension of classes in all levels in all universities, colleges and schools in Manila has been recommended for public order and safety,” parts of the document read. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)

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