| Many parishes celebrate Filipino tradition
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 natives 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 by Dec. 5.
• All Saints Church, 22824 Second St., Hayward. 6 a.m. Dec. 15-23. Contact: Thelma Desiderio-Valera, 510-914-4076.
• Christ the King, 199 Brandon Road, Pleasant Hill, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 15-23; after Masses, simple Filipino foods, after Mass Dec. 23, light potluck dinner. 925-372-6227.
• Church of the Good Shepherd, 3200 Harbor St. Pittsburg, 5 a.m. Dec. 16-24. 925-432-6404.
• Holy Spirit, 37588 Fremont Blvd., Fremont, 5:30 a.m. Dec. 16-24. Contact Sylvia Aljentera, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Immaculate Heart of Mary, 500 Fairview Ave., Brentwood, 5 a.m. Dec. 16-24, breakfast follows. Choir formed of the IHM 12:30 p.m. choir with those from other parishes; both Holy Rosary and St. Ignatius in Antioch will be joining IHM for these celebrations. Contact: Villa Serano, email@example.com.
• Most Holy Rosary, Antioch, see Immaculate Heart of Mary.
• Our Lady of Good Counsel, 14112 Azores Place, San Leandro, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16-23, 6 a.m. Dec. 24. 510-924-1915.
• St. Albert the Great, 1022 Holly St., Alameda, 5 a.m. Dec. 16-24 followed by breakfast reception in the hall featuring native Filipino delicacies. 510-373-5200.
• St. Barnabas, 1427 Sixth St., Alameda, 5:30 a.m. Dec. 16-19, 4:30 p.m. Dec. 20, 8 a.m. Dec. 21, 5:30 p.m. Dec. 22-23, 7 a.m. Dec. 24 (Misa de Gallo). Receptions follow Mass Dec. 16 and 20 in Room 3 and Dec. 24 in the Parish Hall. 510-522-8933.
• St. Clement, 750 Calhoun St., Hayward, 5:30 a.m. Dec. 16-24, Mass followed by breakfast in McCollum Hall. Contact: Aida Geronimo, firstname.lastname@example.org; parish, 510-582-7282.
• St. Edward, 5788 Thornton Ave., Newark 5 a.m. Dec. 16-24. 510-797-0241.
• St. Francis of Assisi, 860 Oak Grove St. Concord, 5:30 a.m. Dec. 16-24. Free breakfast is served after every Mass. 925-682-5447.
• St. Ignatius, Antioch, see Immaculate Heart of Mary.
• St. Joachim, 21250 Hesperian Blvd., Hayward, 5:30 a.m. Dec. 16-24; breakfast after mass in the gym. 510-783-2766.
• St. Joan of Arc, 2601 San Ramon Velley Blvd., San Ramon, 7 p.m. Dec. 16-23, 5:30 a.m. Dec. 24. Refreshments and fellowship after Mass. Contact: Ligaya de la Cruz, 925-858-5765, email@example.com.
• St. John the Baptist, 264 E. Lewelling Blvd., San Lorenzo, 6 a.m. Dec. 15-23. 510-589-5740.
• St. John the Baptist, 11150 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito, Dec. 15-Dec. 23 — 7 p.m. weekdays, 5 p.m. Dec. 20, 6 p.m. Dec. 21. Mass, followed by a communal meal in the Father John Maxwell Conference Room. Contact: Bernie Juat, 510-610-4702, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• St. Joseph, 837 Tennent Ave., Pinole, 5 a.m. Dec. 16-24, breakfast/fellowship after Mass in the parish hall. Contact: Aida Q. Torres, 510-724-6409 or 510-517-9055, email@example.com .
• St. Joseph Basilica, 1109 Chestnut St., Alameda, 5:30 a.m. Dec. 16-24, followed by breakfast in Notre Dame Hall, 1011 Chestnut St. Contact Deacon Jimmy Macalinao, 510-995-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• St. Joseph/Old Mission San Jose, 43148 Mission Blvd., Fremont, one-day Misa de Gallo celebration, 6 a.m. Dec. 20. Contact: Grace Lichauco, 510-789-9103, email@example.com.
• St. Leander, 550 W. Estudillo Ave., San Leandro, 5:30 a.m. Dec. 16-24, breakfast follows Mass in the parish hall. Contact: Julieta L. Ramirez, 510-823-4487, Tess Morales, 510-568-7962 or Frank Mamerto, 510-567-3123.
• St. Michael Parish, 458 Maple St., Livermore, 5:30 a.m. Dec. 16-24. Contact Corry Painter, 925-373-9059.
• St. Patrick, 825 Seventh St., Rodeo, 5 a.m. Dec. 16-24 Mass. 510-799-4406, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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