Christmas Novena Masses 2019 at St. Mary's
Also known as “Simbang Gabi”
Celebrants: GSCP Clergy | December 15th through the 23rd | Rosary starts at 6:30 followed by Mass at 7:00 p.m.
Simbang Gabi is translated to Mass at Night. In the Philippines it is also called Misa de Gallo which translates to “Mass of the Rooster” reason being is, it is celebrated when the first crow of the rooster during the early morning of December 16 concluding at the Midnight Mass on the 24th. After each mass, people gather together and share a simple meal or refreshments at church community hall before they go on with their day. This Filipino tradition was started here at Good Shepherd Catholic Parish in 2005. We have been blessed every year since then, to continue this Cultural Tradition with the help of visiting priests. We are grateful to our own Good Shepherd Catholic Parish Priests who have also taken on the extra schedule to continue this celebration! Thank you, Reverend Father Alex Chaves, Reverend Father Victor Hernando, Reverend Father Pedro Cabral, Monsignor John Harguindeguey and all the Deacons in our Parish. The first day of this 9 Day Novena Mass starts on December 15 and concludes on December 23 to allow parishioners to participate with the regular Good Shepherd Catholic Parish Christmas Mass Schedule.
The Simbang Gabi History
Have you ever walked a road at night with your path lit only by starlight? In the barrios of the Philippines, stars are the lamps that guide the nighttime traveler. During the Advent and Christmas seasons, one will find parols (star lanterns) hanging from windows. The popular paról — the Filipino word is derived from the Spanish farol, which means lantern -are proudly displayed during Christmas. Parols come from the Filipino celebration of Simbang Gabi or “church in the night.” During the Spanish Era in the 16th Century, Catholic missionaries in the Philippine, conscious of the work schedule of the townspeople, began celebrating Mass early in the morning before farmers began their work in the fields and after the fishermen came in from their night’s work. This allowed the whole community to gather for Eucharist, catechesis, and fellowship. Parols lit their way to the church.
In the 17th century, many Filipinos were fishermen or farmers who rose or ended their days with the dawn. To avoid the intense heat of mid-day, other laborers also began adhering to a schedule which began with the rooster’s call at crack of dawn. Due to the work schedules of the Filipino people, missionaries realized the best time to gather people together was at dawn. It was then that the missionaries introduced the devotion to the Virgin Mary, which takes place the nine days leading up to Christmas, to the Philippines. Since Mass began as early as 4:00 a.m. during these nine days, the Masses became known as the Misa de Gallo, Spanish for Mass of the rooster. Other names associated with these Masses are Misa de Aguinaldo, Spanish for Mass of the gift, or the Simbang Gabi, Filipino for night Mass.
These Masses are celebrated for the Incarnation of the Word through Mary’s “YES.” They were festive celebrations with Christmas carols sung before Mass, catechesis, faith sharing, and of course, lots of food afterward. These nine days embodied God’s desire to be human and the Filipino’s joy for that humanness.
In celebration of Advent Season, the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Ministry would like to invite all of you to join us in sharing & celebrating the coming of our Lord, Christ Jesus thru the Christmas Novena Masses. Our Simbang Gabi Mass here at Good Shepherd Catholic Parish is celebrated in English with a few Tagalog Songs and it is followed by Fellowship at the Serra Center after the Mass. Again, it’s a practice of “Devotion and Sharing”