Simbang Gabi 2022

Simbang Gabi 2022

Simbang Gabi

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.

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2022 Simbang Gabi Schedule

 December 15  7:00PM - St. Joseph, Herndon 
 December 16 

 6:00PM - St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Lake Ridge
 7:00PM - All Saints, Manassas
 7:00PM - Holy Family, Dale City
 7:00PM - Our Lady of Good Counsel, Vienna
 7:00PM - Queen of Apostles, Alexandria

 December 17   6:00AM - Good Shepherd, Alexandria
 4:30PM - St. Anthony of Padua, Falls Church
 7:00PM - Sacred Heart, Manassas
 7:00PM - St. Bernadette, Springfield
 7:00PM - St. John the Apostle, Leesburg
 7:00PM - St. Mary of Sorrows, Fairfax
 7:30PM - St. Louis, Alexandria [Live-stream]
 December 18  5:30PM - Christ the Redeemer, Sterling
 Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Main Celebrant & Homilist
 December 19  6:30PM - St. Thomas a Becket, Reston
 7:00PM - Corpus Christi, Aldie
 7:00PM - St. Philip, Falls Church
 7:00PM - St. Theresa, Ashburn
 December 20  7:00PM - St. Timothy, Chantilly
 December 21  7:00PM - Church of the Nativity, Burke
 December 22  7:00PM - Holy Spirit, Annandale
 December 23  

 7:00PM - Blessed Sacrament, Alexandria l Closing Mass
 Fr. Jamie Workman, Vicar General, Diocese of Arlington
 7:00PM - St. John the Evangelist, Warrenton

 December 16-24
  5:00AM - St. Ann, Arlington
 5:00AM - St. Leo the Great, Fairfax


Media Coverage

"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.



Performances from Simbang Gabi 2017

"Payapang Daigdig” arranged by Brian Ponce

Learn more about Simbang Gabi

Filipino Christmas Symbols

Parol (Christmas lantern) symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem that the three wise men followed.  The parol represents the spiritual heritage of Filipinos as bearers of light when migrating to different continents of the world, bringing with them the gift of their Catholic faith and sharing the tradition of Simbang Gabi.

Bigas (Rice) is the staple food of the Filipinos.  Rice is made up of many grains, so many seeds in a stalk.  A single grain cannot stand on its own.  Each and every grain needs others to become food.  This rice symbolizes the Fiipinos' faith, the family, the church community which need to be together, to be one and to find strength in unity.

Prutas (Fruits) symbolize the good harvest, the blessings received from God.  As immigrants to this country, Filipinos are proud of their achievements and contributions to the Church and to society in general.

Bulaklak (Flowers) represent the joy and appreciation for life as Jesus' birth brings life.  Flowers are offered to show the Filipinos' deep devotion and homage to God.