St. Nicholas will host Simbang Gabi on December 21st, 7:00PM.
The “Simbang Gabi” is a long treasured Philippine tradition originally a series of “dawn masses” for nine consecutive days before Christmas Day. Its liturgical significance emanates from the Season of Advent, being the time of spiritual preparation and purification to worthily welcome and receive the Child Jesus in our midst.
The Mass at Dawn, Simbang Gabi, is a nine-day novena to the Blessed Mother. It starts every December 16th and is one of the longest and most important religious celebrations in the Philippines that has lasted over 600 years.
The Simbang Gabi is a time when Catholic churches across the Philippines celebrate mass outdoors in order to accommodate the faithful. At times, when mass is not celebrated outside, the doors of churches are, nevertheless, left wide open to allow attendants to share in the atmosphere of the mass. Its origins began in Mexico, where the practice of holding mass outdoors began, first, in 1587, when the Pope gave permission to Diego de Soria, a Mexican friar, to hold mass outdoors because the churches could not accommodate the huge number of worshipers that came to celebrate Christmas.
The novena culminates, on the ninth day, with the Mass of the Gifts, or Misa de Gallo, which celebrates the birth of Jesus. However, it was not until 1669, during the early years of Christianity, in the Philippines, that the Misa de Gallo became a Philippine spiritual tradition. During Advent, in preparation for the birth of Christ, missionary friars held pre-dawn masses for nine consecutive days, to usher in the event of Jesus’ birth. The masses were celebrated very early, usually at 4 in the morning, since they took place during the harvest season, when farmers had to be in the fields at the crack of dawn. The word gallo means rooster, in Spanish. At the first sound of dawn, at the crowing of the rooster, the entire family would get up and walk to the nearest parish church.
During this time, colorful lanterns are hung in every door, window, tree branch, and street corner. Bands play native carols all across town while families, couples, and individuals make their way to the nearest church. Shortly after the mass, people gather in their homes to celebrate Noche Buena and feast on local delicacies made of rice flour, coconut milk and other traditional deserts.
Here in the United States, Filipino immigrants brought with them this distinct tradition which is slowly taking roots and thus the observance of this time honored spiritual and cultural tradition has grown significantly in California, New York, Chicago, New Jersey and even in Hampton Roads to the point where it has now earned a strong and unequivocal support.
Halina Hesus, Halina! (O Come, O Come Emmanuel)
Celebrate Advent with us!
- Bethlehem Walk at Kings Grant Presbyterian Church – December 2nd and 3rd
- St. Nicholas Feast Day Volunteer Appreciation Dinner & Raffle Drawing – December 3rd, 6:30PM – RSVP to attend – CLICK HERE!
- Breakfast with St. Nicholas – Sunday, December 4th following Masses
- Feast of the Immaculate Conception Mass, Holy Day of Obligation – December 8th, 7:00PM
- Advent Reconciliation Services – (Download November 20th bulletin HERE for dates and locations)
- Simbang Gabi Mass – December 18th, 7:00PM
Saturday Reconciliation – 4:45pm
Saturday Vigil 5:30pm
Sunday – 9:00am & 11:00am
Tuesday Adoration – 10am – 6:45pm
Tuesday – 7:00pm
Wednesday through Friday -9:00am
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.” (Colossians 3:16)