MANILA Apostolic Administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo on Saturday, January 9, 2021, said the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic has failed to stop Black Nazarene devotees.

In his homily during the first Fiesta Mass for Traslacion 2021 at the Quiapo Church in Manila, Pabillo noted how the devotees continued to visit the church despite the risk of Covid-19 transmission.

"Indeed, the Black Nazarene is a magnet. A very strong magnet that attracts people to Him and one that cannot be stopped," said Pabillo.

"Even though the method is different now that people cannot go to Luneta, are not able to hold a procession, there is an existing curfew, the people are still going to the Black Nazarene," he added.

He also noted the large number of devotees who attended the fiesta masses being held in their respective parishes in different parts of the country as requested by Quiapo Church officials.

The prelate also mentioned the devotees attending fiesta masses via online platforms.

Pabillo said he believes that Jesus Christ is with the people amid the hardships and the sufferings, especially amid the pandemic.

"Our Lord is one with our hardships, especially during this time of the pandemic, when many are jobless, when many are confined to their homes. But we know that the Lord is one with us," the bishop said.

"Remember that the Lord loves us. And He comes to us in ways we least expect," he added.

The Quiapo Church is celebrating the Feast of the Black Nazarene without the traditional grand procession, which historically draws hundreds of thousands of barefoot devotees who accompany the image from the Quirino Grandstand to the Quiapo Church.

Church and local government officials have opted to cancel the activities to minimized Covid-19 transmission. (HDT / SunStar Philippines)