This year, our parish honored the Filipino Advent tradition of Simbang Gabi with two days of Masses and feasts (December 15 & 16)! In the Philippines, Simbang Gabi is a celebration consisting of a nine-day series of early morning Masses to prepare for the birth of Christ on Christmas Day. Filipino immigrants have proudly brought this tradition to the Church in the United States, modifying it slightly.
Each evening began with Mass featuring traditional Filipino music and the procession with the star-shaped lantern (parol). Followed by a reception with feasting, games, line dancing. At St. Gregory the Great, winners of the games of musical chairs and "bring me something..." won crisp single-dollar bills! At Saint Ita, two performers danced the Binasuan, a Filipino folk dance where the performer holds full glasses in each hand while performing balancing tricks.
On behalf of the Filipinos of Saint Ita and St. Gregory the Great, we hope you will incorporate Simbang Gabi into your Advent celebrations next year!
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Saint Ita church
Photos courtesy: Wes Kindard
St. Gregory the Great church
Photos courtesy: Damian Chlanda