CAGAYAN DE ORO – The annual Traslacion or procession of Black Nazarene in Cagayan de Oro City recorded smaller number of devotees on Tuesday, January 9.
Following a turnout of at least 110,000 in 2023, the yearly religious gathering experienced a substantial decrease, with only 18,000 devoted individuals taking part in the religious procession.
Cagayan de Oro organized the Traslacion a month after a bomb attack happened in Marawi City. The attack resulted in the death of four individuals and injuries to several dozen others who were attending a Catholic Mass at the state-operated Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City, which is over 100 kilometers away.
To ensure the security of the religious event, at least 1,000 policemen and soldiers were stationed, as both the police force and the archdiocese anticipated the participation of approximately 150,000 devotees.
Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Jose Cabantan, in a broadcast on Radio Veritas, urged the believers to derive strength and motivation from the birth of Jesus. He encouraged them to discover hope even in the midst of life’s challenges.
“Jesus’ passion and the cross we carry give us hope despite the burdens we bear. We are not alone in facing life’s trials. God is always with us,” he said.
Meanwhile, authorities stated that the Traslacion transpired in a ‘largely peaceful’ manner, with no notable untoward incidents reported. Despite significant security apprehensions, thousands of devotees braved the relatively cool morning conditions to participate in the annual Black Nazarene procession in the city. Starting at 5 a.m., the procession lasted for approximately two hours and 15 minutes.
Devotees carried the image of the Black Nazarene on a procession covering approximately 2.6 kilometers. It started from the St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral, proceeded to Fernandez Street, A. Velez Street, CM Recto Avenue, and ended at the Nazareno Church.
A day before the Traslacion, the image of the Black Nazarene was transferred to the St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral from the Nazareno Church.
The Minor Basilica and National Shrine of the Black Nazarene presented the archdiocese with a pilgrim image of the Black Nazarene on Jan. 5, 2009.