MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A raucous Roman Catholic procession in which up to a million Filipinos packed the streets of the capital for a chance to get close to a centuries-old statue of Jesus Christ left two men dead and about 1,000 hurt, officials said Saturday, in a prelude to a much larger turnout expected during next week's visit by Pope Francis.

Huge crowds jostled for 20 hours Friday around a carriage carrying the wooden Black Nazarene with a cross along Manila's streets. The faithful threw small towels at volunteers on the carriage to wipe parts of the cross and the statue in the belief that the Nazarene's mystical powers to cure ailments and provide good health and fortune will rub off on them.

One volunteer accompanying the statue died of a heart attack. Another man was found lifeless on the ground, apparently pinned by the people's massive surge toward Quiapo Church at the end of procession before dawn Saturday, said Francis Tolentino, chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.

Nearly 1,000 were treated for cuts, bruises, dizziness and hypertension, said Gwen Pang, secretary general of the Philippine Red Cross.

Authorities saw the annual festival as a dry run for the Jan. 15-19 papal visit.

President Benigno Aquino III said 6 million people are expected to flock to Manila to see the pope, who will be secured by 25,000 police and soldiers.

"But with 25,000 against 6 million, the government cannot do it alone," Aquino told reporters Friday. "So we want to repeat this message: with cooperation from the church and various groups and the private sector, we will be able to achieve our goal of a peaceful and meaningful visit by the pope."

Police Senior Superintendent Jigs Coronel said officials were able to test security plans, crowd control, anti-crime measures, and emergency and medical response.

About 5,000 police were deployed Friday, with 1,000 military personnel on standby, Coronel said.

The statue of Christ kneeling with a cross on its shoulder is believed to have been brought from Mexico to Manila on a galleon in 1606 by Spanish missionaries. The ship caught fire, charring the statue that was named the Black Nazarene. Some believe that mystical powers have allowed the statue to withstand fires, earthquakes and even intense bombings during World War II.

Mary Rose Ricafort carried a small replica of the Black Nazarene as she followed the procession. "I want my father to get well," she said, adding he had suffered a stroke.

Joel Talaban, a 51-year-old storeowner, said he has been a devotee for three years and hopes that by finishing the procession "I will be able to give a good life to my children and keep them away from vices, and also to ask for our daily sustenance."