December 16, 2018: Third Sunday of Advent - Associate Pastor’s Corner
“Rejoice in the Lord always.
I shall say it again: rejoice!
Your kindness should be known to all.
The Lord is near.”
One aspect of the “Christmas Season” (and by that, I mean from Black Friday till midnight of Christmas Day) that I struggle with is that people would say that they need to be more charitable and patient with others “because it’s Christmas.”
We volunteer, or give money, or we let people cut us off on the highway “because it’s Christmas”.
But forgive me if I am wrong, aren’t we supposed to be more charitable, more patient, and more humble all of the time? In a way, what makes “Christmas Time” any different than any other time of year?
“Your kindness should be known to all.”
No matter how tired we are, no matter how chaotic life is, no matter the struggles we endure, we are reminded to rejoice, for the “Lord is near.” The Lord is always near to us. We receive Jesus, His very Flesh and His very Blood, into our bodies every single time we attend to communion. The Lord isn’t merely “near” us, the Lord is in us.
No matter the struggle, rejoice, for the Lord is within you, urging you to have a deeper Faith, Hope for the better thing, and Love more tenderly than you are right now.
I rejoice today because, beginning on December 15th at the 5:30 Vigil Mass, a Filipino Custom will be held throughout the deanery and surrounding Catholic parishes. It’s a Novena of Masses called Simbang Gabi, and we have a little bit about this tradition below.
Fr. Isaiah Mary Molano, O.P.
About Simbang Gabi
The original Simbang Gabi was called the “Misa de Aurea” (Golden Mass) or the “Angel’s Mass.” In 1587, Fray Diego Soria, prior of the San Augustin Convent, petitioned the Pope for permission to hold Christmastide Masses outdoors because the church could not accommodate the multitude that attended the services. The request was granted through a re-script, and in the 17th Century, the Misa de Aguinaldo or the Misa de Gallo, or Simbang Gabi became a Filipino spiritual tradition. Vatican II encouraged the church in the Philippines to continue the tradition and uphold its significant role in the life of the people.
This novena of Masses expresses the love of the people for God through His Mother, Mary, as we gather in prayerful anticipation of the Christmas miracle. The readings, prayers, and songs at Mass remind us all of our need for God in our lives and the necessity of taking time to reflect on our relationships with God and with one another at this special time of the year.
Filipino Americans brought Simbang Gabi to the United States and found it to be an effective way to stay connected to their faith. It expresses who they are as a Filipino people and enables them to share their God-given gifts with the wider Church in the United States. Simbang Gabi draws on the leadership of the Filipino Catholics in the parishes to carry out these special gatherings and to share their religious tradition and culture with the whole parish family.
For the first time, St Dominic’s is joining the surrounding parishes—the Cathedral, Star of the Sea, Most Holy Redeemer, St Ignatius, St Thomas, & St Monica—in coming together to celebrate Simbang Gabi at the 5:30 p.m. Vigil Mass on December 15th. For some in our parish community, this will be the first exposure to a beloved Filipino Advent tradition; for others it is deepening the experience. Yet, as Filipino American Catholics, we are joyful that we can share this with the St Dominic’s community on Gaudate Sunday.
The planning committee members, including Fr Isaiah Mary, Deacon Dino, and Deborah Dacumos, pray that your advent is enriched by taking part in this novena to anticipate the Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Here is the Simbang Gabi schedule for the parishes in our deanery:
December 15, 5:30 pm, St. Dominic
December 16, 6:30 pm, Most Holy Redeemer
December 17, 7:00pm, Most Holy Redeemer
December 18, 7:30pm, St. Ignatius
December 19, 6:30 pm, Star of the Sea
December 20, 6:30 pm, Star of the Sea
December 21, 5:30 pm, St. Ignatius
December 22, 6:30 pm, St Monica
December 23, 7:30 am, Cathedral of St. Mary