Simbang Gabi 2017

Highlights from Simbang Gabi 2017

Holy Spirit 192
Bishop Paul Loverde gives a homily as the main celebrant at Holy Spirit in Annandale, Virginia

St. Charles 127
Parols outside of St. Charles Borromeo in Clarendon, Virginia

St. Timothy 47
Bishop Michael F. Burbidge blesses the members of Fil/Am Community Ministry

"Bishop Burbidge joins 1,400 at Filipino community Mass for Simbang Gabi" - By Zoey Maraist, Catholic Herald Staff Writer

In the 16th century, Spanish friars introduced the people of the Philippines to Simbang Gabi — the custom of attending Mass on each of the nine days leading up to Christmas. Before the sun rose, and before they headed out to labor in the fields or set out to sea, people would gather to celebrate Advent.

Growing up in the Philippines, Sylvia “Beng” Magalong, a parishioner of Holy Spirit Church in Annandale, occasionally would go with her mother early in the morning to Simbang Gabi Masses. When she moved to the United States, attending Simbang Gabi became a way to remember her culture.

“I think it’s a form of evangelization,” said Magalong, who likes to invite family and friends to the celebrations.


Media Coverage on Simbang Gabi:


Performances from Simbang Gabi 2017

"Payapang Daigdig” arranged by Brian Ponce

Learn more about Simbang Gabi

Simbang Gabi

Simbang Gabi (Filipino for "Night Mass") is a devotional mass held during the Season of Advent. It consists of a series 9-day Mass celebrations leading up to Christmas Eve. With the support and approval of the Bishop, the various parish churches throughout the Arlington Diocese participate in these masses.

The Simbang Gabi Masses in the Philippines are held daily from December 16–24 and occur at different times ranging from as early as 3:00 am to 5:00 am. This tradition was introduced by the Spanish friars to allow the farmers to hear mass before going to the fields early in the morning. Over the years, evening Masses were introduced to accommodate the schedules of faithful who could not attend morning celebrations. On the last day of the Simbang Gabi, which is Christmas Eve, the service is instead called Misa de Gallo (Spanish for "Rooster's Mass").

Parol Stars

In the Philippines, the parol has become an iconic symbol of the Filipino Christmas and is as important to Filipinos as the Christmas Tree is to Western cultures. Its annual debut on houses and streets is usually in September along with other Christmas symbols, signalling the coming of the season. The parol also retains its original association with the Simbang Gabi ritual, a series of dawn masses that lasts for nine days. These lanterns remain until January, traditionally removed after Epiphany, to honor the Three Kings and their visit to the infant Jesus.


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For more on Simbang Gabi, click here