(Manila) Despite restrictions on the spread of the coronavirus, millions of Catholic worshipers flocked to a church in Manila on Saturday hoping to find a statue of Jesus Christ known for its miracles.
Ignoring the demands of the authorities to stay in the house, worshipers, wearing masks, gathered along the avenue leading to the church of Quiapo in Manila, where from 15 a.m. Mass was given in honor of the feast of the Black Nazarene, the statue of Jesus Christ carrying his cross, placed in the basilica of the same name.
People lined up to enter or follow from the square where the mass was broadcast on the big screens outside.
These scenes usually attract the hundreds of worshipers who try to touch the statue that comes with these ions roaring, believing it can heal the sick.
A life-size statue was brought to the Philippines in the early XVIIE Century under the Spanish colonies. The boat, which was transported from Mexico, was blackened by legend by fiery smoke, which usually travels through the capital’s congested streets, but this year the authorities preferred to quell the outrage because of an epidemic, the first of decades.
At this time the believers had to take care of themselves, and no longer touch, the idol was not available to prevent contamination. “I’m very happy with what I’m looking at now,” said 32 – year – old George Areva. After the mass attendance, it was limited to 400 people to respect the rules of physical distance.
Areva said he touched the statue for the first time in 2017, adding that his gesture would allow his wife to deliver a healthy baby without problems while suffering from epilepsy.
The risk of infection by the coronavirus in a country infected with nearly 500,000 people did not even frighten Marilyn Ardials (58), who promised that the black Nazarene would protect her.
“I don’t care about the pandemic, I’m in it,” she told AFP before entering the church.
Thousands of police have been deployed to ensure social distance rules. According to Manila Police Chief General Leo Francisco, millions of people had gathered by noon.
In the weeks leading up to the big day on Saturday, the statue visited several churches in Manila and allowed worshipers to see, in a country where 80% of the population is Catholic.