| Christmas Liturgies
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 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 Dec. 4:
• Catholic Community of Pleasanton, St. Augustine Church, 3999 Bernal Ave., Pleasanton, 6 a.m. Dec. 19 followed by breakfast at the parish hall. Information: Remy Carpizo, 925-846-8679.
• Christ the King, 199 Brandon Road, Pleasant Hill, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 15-23, followed by light refreshments in the parish hall. Information: Rudy Bautista, 925-372-6227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Holy Spirit, 37588 Fremont Blvd., Fremont, 5:30 a.m. Dec. 16-23, fellowship after Mass in the parish center. Information: Sylvia Aljentera, 510-683-3998.
• Immaculate Heart of Mary, 500 Fairview Ave., Brentwood, 5 a.m. Dec. 16-24, sung Mass with full choir, breakfast follows. This is a collaboration with St. Ignatius of Antioch and Most Holy Rosary in Antioch. Information: Villa Serrano, email@example.com; Remy Pucan, 925-513-7475, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Cora Marcelino, 925-634-7521 or email@example.com.
• Our Lady of Good Counsel, Bermuda at Aurora streets, San Leandro, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16-23, followed by refreshments in the hall; 6 a.m. Dec. 24 followed by breakfast in the hall. Information: Mila Daulog, 510-735-5686.
• Our Lady Queen of the World, 3155 Winterbrook Drive, Bay Point, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15-18, 8 p.m. Dec. 19 and 6:30 p.m. Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21-23. Information: 925-458-4718.
• St. Anthony, 971 O'Hara Ave, Oakley, 5 a.m. Dec. 16-24, followed by light breakfast in the small hall. Information: Emma Arcayena, 925-325-5249 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• St. Barnabas, 1427 Sixth St., Alameda, 5:30 p.m. Dec. 16-18, 4:30 p.m. Dec. 19, 8 a.m. Dec. 20, 5:30 p.m. Dec. 21-23, 7 a.m. Dec. 24; receptions after Mass Dec. 16 and 20 in Room 3 and Dec. 24 (Misa de Gallo) in the parish hall. Information: 510-522-8933, ext. 10.
• St. Clement, 750 Calhoun St., Hayward, 5:30 a.m. Dec. 16-24, breakfast follows Mass in McCollum Hall. Information: Aida Geronimo, email@example.com, or the parish office at 510-582-7282.
• St. Francis of Assisi, 860 Oak Grove Road, Concord, 5:30 a.m. Dec. 16-24, hospitality after Mass. This is a collaboration between St. Bonaventure, Concord; St. Agnes, Concord; Queen of All Saints, Concord; St. Catherine of Siena, Martinez; and Corpus Christi Cursillo group.
• St. Isidore, 440 La Gonda, Danville, 6 a.m. Dec. 19, Mass followed by breakfast in the Ministry Center's St. Isidore Room. Information: Cecilia Lapuz at firstname.lastname@example.org
• St. Joan of Arc, 2601 San Ramon Valley Blvd., San Ramon, 7 p.m. Dec. 16-23, 5:30 a.m. Dec. 24, refreshments follow Mass in the Multi-Purpose Room. Information: Ligaya de la Cruz, 925-858-5765 or email@example.com.
• St. John the Baptist, 11150 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito, 7 p.m., Dec. 15-18, 5 p.m. Dec. 19, 6 p.m. Dec. 20, 7 p.m. Dec. 21-23; light meal follows Mass, Information: Bernie Juat, 510-526-5828 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• St. Joseph Basilica, 1109 Chestnut St., Alameda. 5:30 a.m. Dec. 16-24, breakfast afterward in Notre Dame Hall on Lafayette Street. Information: Alex Ramos, email@example.com or 510-708-9640.
• St. Joseph Parish/Old Mission San Jose, 43148 Mission Blvd., Fremont, 6 a.m. Dec. 19, traditional Filipino breakfast follows with raffles and entertainment. Information: Grace Lichauco, 510-789-9103 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• St. Joseph, Pinole, Mass at 5 am, every morning from Dec. 16 to 24 at St. Joseph Church, 837 Tennent Ave., Pinole. A hospitality breakfast follows in the St. Joseph Parish Hall. Contact: Parish Center, 510-741-4900.
• St. Patrick, 825 Seventh St., Rodeo, 5 a.m. Dec. 16-24, breakfast follows, some Masses in Tagalog and English. Information: 510-799-4406.
• St. Philip Neri-St. Albert the Great, 5 a.m. Dec. 16-24, St. Albert the Great, 1022 Holly St., Alameda; traditional Filipino breakfast served in the hall after every Mass. 510-373-5200 or email email@example.com.
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