Filipino tradition of Simbang Gabi kicks off Dec. 14
The Cathedral of Christ the Light, 2121 Harrison St., Oakland, will host the sixth annual kick off to the Simbang Gabi Christmas celebration on Dec. 14 with Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, presiding at Mass.
There will be a gathering at 6 p.m., Mass is scheduled at 7 p.m., followed by a reception in the Event Center. For more information: www.ctlcathedral.org or 510-496-7203. Parking is available across 21st Street in the Kaiser Center Garage.
Simbang Gabi (evening Mass), the Filipino tradition of a novena of Masses preceding Christmas Eve, is observed in many individual parishes. It traces its origin to Mexico, when in 1587, an evening Christmas Mass was held outdoors to accommodate the huge number of people.
A century later, missionaries brought it to the Philippines, where it was expanded into nine consecutive Masses before Christmas as a way of teaching the people about the birth of the Messiah.
Celebrating the Masses before dawn allowed the farmers, mostly men, to come to church with their families and start the day with worship before they went off to their fields. The Christmas Eve Mass is called Misa de Gallo, Spanish for "rooster's Mass."
Filipino immigrants bring the tradition with them as they move to, or work in, foreign countries.
If not listed below, check with your parish for Simbang Gabi activities.
The following parishes had scheduled events and submitted them to The Catholic Voice by Nov. 10:
• All Saints, 22824 Second St, Hayward, Mass, 6 a.m. Dec 16-24. Breakfast afterwards in the Senior/Hospitality Center. Contact: Thelma Desiderio-Valera, 510-914-4076 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Catholic Community of Pleasanton, St. Augustine, 3999 Bernal Ave., Pleasanton, 6 a.m. Dec. 16 only with full choir in Tagalog and English, followed by breakfast at the parish hall. Contact: Remy Carpizo, 925-846-8679.
• Christ the King, 199 Brandon Road, Pleasant Hill, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 15-23 (except Dec. 17 at 6 p.m.). All Masses in church (except Dec. 19 at the gym) followed by light refreshments every night in the parish hall. Contact: Rudy Bautista 925-372-6227 or email@example.com.
• St. Anne, 32223 Cabello St., Union City, 5:30 a.m. Dec. 16-24; Zella Yanos, 510-471-7766 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Church of the Good Shepherd, 3200 Harbor St., Pittsburg, 5 a.m. Dec. 16-24, followed by breakfast in the parish hall. Filipino Ministry: Lelani Andes, email@example.com.
• St. Isidore, 440 La Gonda, Danville, 6 a.m. Dec. 16 only, contact: Cecille, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Holy Spirit Church, 37588 Fremont Blvd., Fremont, 5:30 a.m. Dec. 16-24. Breakfast and fellowship will follow Mass. Contact: Sylvia Aljentera at 510-683-3998.
• Immaculate Heart of Mary, 500 Fairview, Brentwood, 5 a.m. Dec. 16 -24. Contact Rev. Erick Villa, email@example.com.
• St. Francis of Assisi, 860 Oak Grove Road, Concord, 5:30 a.m. Dec 16-24, followed by free breakfast. Contact: Tony Lansang, firstname.lastname@example.org or Beng Beza, email@example.com.
• St. James Catholic Church, 34700 Fremont Blvd., Fremont, 5:30 a.m. Dec. 16-24. Free breakfast will be served after Mass each morning donated by kindhearted parishioners and friends. Contact: Solita Cruz, 510-566-8181.
• St. Joachim Church, 21250 Hesperian Blvd., Hayward, 5:30 a.m. Dec. 16-24, followed by a breakfast reception in the gymnasium. Become Hermano/Hermana (Mass Sponsor) for a particular day with a Thanksgiving offering of $100 that will go to the renovation of the gymnasium and help sustain the ministries at St. Joachim Church. Contact: Ariel Mayormita, 510-589-7555 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• St. John the Baptist, 11150 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito, 7 p.m. Dec. 15-23, except 5 p.m. Saturdays and 6 p.m. Sundays. Reception follows each Mass. Contact: Bernie Juat, b_Juat@yahoo.com or 510-232-5659.
• St. Patrick, 825 Seventh St., Rodeo; Mass, 5 a.m. Dec. 16-24, breakfast reception follows in parish hall. Contact, parish office, 510-799-4406.
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