The nine-day celebration leading up to Christmas began withrna Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels celebrated by Archbishop JosérnH. Gomez.
Thousands of Filipino Catholics from throughout SoutheCalifornia celebrated the beginning of Simbang Gabi, one of the oldest FilipinornChristmas traditions, with a special Mass this evening at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels inrndowntown Los Angeles. Archbishop José H. Gomez presided at the liturgyrnpresented by the Filipino Ministry of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
“I pray that these coming days will be a beautiful time forrnyour families to draw closer and to renew your love for one another in JesusrnChrist,” said Archbishop Gomez. “Above all in this beautiful season, let’s tryrnto make Christ’s presence felt in the hearts and lives of others. Let’s try tornbe a source of hope and optimism for other people.”
The Mass was preceded by the traditional music band leadingrnthe “Parade of Parols,” or lanterns, of 125 parishes from the five pastoralrnregions throughout the tri-county Archdiocese (Santa Barbara, Ventura and LosrnAngeles).
The parols, a Philippine Christmas symbol, were blessed atrnthe end of the Mass. In the Philippines,rnthe parol is used to light up people’s homes and is carried by parishionersrnattending Simbang Gabi Mass, or “Mass before dawn.”
Following Communion, about 40 Filipino priests joined on thernaltar to sing traditional Simbang Gabi songs. This year’s theme, “Jesus, Lightrnfor our Shepherds, with Mary, Lead Us All to Holiness’ (Hesus, Tanglaw Para sarnAming Mga Pastol, Kasama ni Maria, Akayin Mo Kaming Lahat Sa Kabanalan),rnreflects on renewal of our relationship with Christ, to light the life ofrnothers by giving and helping out those in need.
The Filipino tradition of Simbang Gabi dates back nearly 500rnyears. It begins nine nights beforernChristmas Eve. During Simbang Gabi, an Advent Mass is celebrated before dawn orrnin the evening of each day in preparation for Christmas.
For the full schedule of Simbang Gabi at 125 parishes throughout the archdiocese, click here.
To watch the live stream video of the Mass, click here.
Interested in more? Subscribe to Angelus News to get daily articles sent to your inbox.