Mar. 23, 2023 01:23 PM
Devotees and parishioners lining up as they are assisted by volunteers in the reopened Sanctuario of Quiapo Church after three years since pandemic (Photo by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
After three years of waiting, the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene finally reopened the Sanctuario on March 17, 2023. Since then, people have been coming up with icons of different saints in the sanctuary to touch them. This signals the return of one of the most sought traditional practices of popular religiosity linked to the Black Nazarene.
The Sanctuario is where the saint images are displayed, which leads to the much-venerated Pahalik, where pilgrims from different parts of the country and internationally can kiss and touch the feet of the miraculous Nazareno image. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sanctuario was closed so that strict health measures and safety protocols put out by the Department of Health (DOH) in 2020 could be followed. However, its reopening means not only a full resumption of normal operations for the church but also of the expected regular and continuous influx of people, this time in more significant numbers, especially during Friday devotions.
The return of this area of prayer & meditation has been made possible through the beautification efforts spearheaded by Rev. Fr. Robert Arellano, LRMS, Parochial Vicar of Quiapo Church. Through the collaboration of Hijos Logistics volunteers under the supervision of the Physical Plant Department led by Engr. Victor G. Malilin. According to Mr. Isidro Hongayo of the Maintenance Department, the works had included the cleaning (and repainting) of images with their respective glass-covered minor altars, as well as the floors and ceiling, which were finished at midnight, giving way to its much-awaited opening on another completely busy Friday in the church.
In marking the celebration of Holy Week 2023, both the Vicario and Santo Entierro grace the entrance of Sanctuario to highlight the Passion Narrative at the centrality of our Catholic faith and salvation in the spirit of Lenten. Even with the reopening, minimum public health standards are still maintained with the assistance of assigned members of some ministries and organizations of Quiapo Church directing the queuing people to the Pahalik.
Community of faithful going from the Sanctuario to the Pahalik (Photos by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
The reopening of the Sanctuario should be highly regarded as a place of prayer. Also, may this place remind us that here we get to experience the richness of love and infinite mercy God shows through his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. His passion, death, and resurrection not only appeal to us in the context of our daily challenges, trials, and tribulations but in the glorification that we will eventually triumph over all these sufferings. In a few weeks from now, may we all have a blessed solemn Holy Week, everyone!
–Kidanzac A. Tallada | EIAM & ADRM