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Simbang Gabi: Dec. 15-24

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Friday, Dec. 15 - Sunday, Dec. 24

Bishop Burbidge to celebrate Mass on Saturday, Dec. 16, 7 p.m. at Sacred Heart Parish, Manassas.

Simbang Gabi was introduced to the Philippines by Spanish friars in the 16th century. This novena of Masses is celebrated in the early morning hours, when the roosters crow to announce the coming of the new day (hence the name, Misa de gallo) for a very practical reason - Filipinos are mainly farmers or fisherfolk who either begin or end their day at dawn. Farmers begin their work at the crack of dawn to avoid the intense heat. Fishermen who spend all night at sea, come back to shore to sell their catch. Thus the Spanish missionaries decided just before dawn was the best time to gather all the people to pray and prepare for the coming of Jesus.

The history of Simbang Gabi is all but forgotten now. But the tradition to worship and meditate on the mystery of the Incarnation; the loving appreciation for the role of Mary as the bearer of the child, Jesus; and, the fatherly love of Joseph for his family - these remain strong in the faith life of Filipinos every where in the world. The Filipino immigrants have proudly introduced this beautiful tradition to the Church in the United States. Since winter weather in most parts of the country makes it impractical to hold the Mass celebrations at dawn, local parishes have adapted the practice and celebrate Simbang Gabi in the evenings.

See the schedule and learn more about Simbang Gabi.

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