With the easing of lockdown restrictions throughout the Philippines, church services are resuming in limited capacity, finally allowing devotees to commune with the Lord. We visited the iconic church in Quiapo, Manila to see how worshippers are coping with the “new normal.”
The iconic Quiapo Church in Quiapo, Manila, has been a popular destination for worshippers, however, with the pandemic and the implementation of the ECQ earlier in March of this year, devotees were unable to attend and commune with the Lord.
The scenes last year during the Quiapo Day celebrations may not be seen again for a long time: tens of thousands of devotees packed the Church and the surrounding grounds and followed the cross procession in large numbers. Since the pandemic struck, however, many devotees have been unable to attend Quiapo Church for mass or any other services.
Now, with the easing of restrictions, worshippers are allowed to visit the church in limited numbers, and to do so, many of them waited in the heat of the day for the chance to enter the church to ask for blessings.
Unwavering in their devotion, many waited for a few hours to have a chance to enter the church. Those that were not able to get inside, stood and prayed outside of the church, just to get a glimpse of, and pray to The Black Nazareth and the Holy Cross.
In turn, Quiapo Church volunteers assisted attendees and helped them maintain and abide by the guidelines of the quarantine health measures, by ensuring social distancing and limiting the number of worshippers that were allowed inside the church.
One parishioner, Gilbert Lopez, used to come here every Sunday to commune with the Lord, but since the start of the pandemic, he has not been able to visit for over four months. Despite having lost a lot of income during this time, he never fails to ask the Lord for guidance, rather than wealth.
“Being devotees, we have faith that the Lord will bless us,” he said. “We still have faith that through prayer we may get close to our Lord, who will soon find a way to help us. We are all scared, but this is why we are here to ask for guidance, because we have faith that He will end this pandemic soon.”
Like many other devotees, Gilbert prays to seek guidance and thank the Lord. “For me I pray not to ask for anything but to say thank you, especially for keeping my family safe and healthy,” he continued. “I pray for the Lord to look over us and keep us safe during this pandemic.”