Morning chills has started signaling that Simbang Gabi is just around the corner! St. Leander celebrates the nine-day novena from December 16th to December 24th at 5:00AM followed by a breakfast reception for fellowship. Parishioners are invited to sponsor a mass and/or breakfast reception either by themselves or by joining a group. Family sponsors are also acknowledged by offering their mass intention and/or by presenting the gifts of wine and bread during Offertory. Please contact Peter Purificacion at (510) 589-4761 or Mildred Alamo at (510) 483-3885 for details.
What is Simbang Gabi?
Simbang Gabi is a Filipino Christmas tradition. It is a series of nine dawn masses on the days leading up to Christmas. It begins on December 16 and ends at midnight on the 24th of December, when a midnight mass is held. Simbang gabi was introduced by the Spanish friars to allow the farmers to hear mass before going to the fields early in the morning. Simbang gabi is also known by its popular name “Misa de Gallo” or “Mass of the Rooster”. Today, the tradition of Simbang gabi continues wether you live in the city or the province although it is celebrated in new ways. Most churches are decorated with colorful lights and beautiful parol lanterns to welcome the church goer. The Nativity scene is displayed in preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Shortly after the mass, traditional delicacies awaits the church goers, there are food stalls right outside the church. Popular favorites are bibingka, puto (rice cakes), puto bumbong, suman sa pasko, suman sa ibos, and usually serve with hot tea or coffee. Hot pandesal is also popular. Simbang gabi is not just a tradition that is celebrated because we need to do so. But it is also spiritual preparation for Christmas, in commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. The celebration is also seen as a way of requesting blessings from the Lord, as most people believe that if one completes the whole series of nine dawn masses wishes will be granted.