Filipino tradition of Simbang Gabi kicks off Dec. 9
The Cathedral of Christ the Light, 2121 Harrison St., Oakland, will host the fifth annual kick off to the Simbang Gabi Christmas celebration on Dec. 9 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. 14:
• Good Shepherd Parish, 3200 Harbor St., Pittsburg: Masses, 5 a.m. Dec. 16-24, breakfast reception follows Mass. Details: Feli Buettner, 925-207-3501.
• Holy Spirit Church, 37588 Fremont Blvd., Fremont: Masses, 5:30 a.m. Dec. 16-24, breakfast reception after all Masses. Details: Sylvia Aljentara, 510-507-2135.
• Our Lady Queen of the World Church, 3155 Winterbrook Drive, Bay Point: Masses, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15, 16, 19-23; 8 p.m. Dec. 17 and 6 p.m. Dec. 18. Details: Lourdes Servignon, email@example.com.
• St. Albert the Great-St. Philip Neri Parish, 1022 Holly St., Alameda: Masses, 5 a.m. Dec. 16-24. Details: Rudy or Ruth Pontemayor, firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-917-0845, or Helen Ordinario, email@example.com or 510-769-1148.
• St. Anne Church, 32223 Cabello St., Union City: Masses, 5:30 a.m. Dec. 16-24. Details: Zella Yanos, 510-471-7766 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• St. Barnabas Church, 1427 Sixth St., Alameda: 5:30 p.m. Dec. 16 and Dec. 19-23, 4:30 p.m. Dec. 17, 8 a.m. Dec. 18, Misa de Gallo 7 a.m. Dec. 24. Receptions after Mass on Dec. 16 and 20 in Room 3 and Dec. 24 in the parish hall. Details: 510-522-8933 or email email@example.com.
• St. Edward Church, 5788 Thornton Ave., Newark: Masses, 5 a.m. Dec. 16-24, followed by breakfast in the parish hall. There will be a triduum at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21, 22 and 23.
• St. Francis of Assisi Church, 860 Oak Grove Road, Concord: Masses, 5:30 a.m. Dec. 16-24, breakfast follows. Details: Tony Lansang, firstname.lastname@example.org or Beng Beza, email@example.com.
• St. James the Apostle Catholic Church, 34700 Fremont Blvd., Fremont: Masses, 5:30 a.m. Dec. 16-24, followed by free breakfast sponsored by different ministries, parishioners and friends. Details: Solita Rivera-Cruz, 510-566-8181.
• St. Joan of Arc Church, 2601 San Ramon Valley Blvd., San Ramon: Masses, 7 p.m. Dec. 16-23 followed by fellowship and refreshments in the Multipurpose room and 5:30 a.m. Dec. 24, followed by breakfast and fellowship in the Multipurpose Room. Details: Gina Atanacio, Gina.firstname.lastname@example.org or 925 980-8547.
• St. Joseph Basilica, 1109 Chestnut St., Alameda: Masses, 5:30 a.m. Dec. 16-24, with breakfast after in Notre Dame Hall. Details: Alex Ramos, email@example.com.
• St. Joseph Church/Old Mission San Jose 43148 Mission Blvd, Fremont: Mass, 6 a.m. Dec. 17 followed by reception 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Details: Mike deVera, 510-909-2167.
• St. Margaret Mary Parish, 1219 Excelsior Ave., Oakland: Masses in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite at 6 a.m. Dec. 16-24, except on Sunday, Dec. 18, when Mass will begin at 5.15 a.m. Details: Rev. Glenn Naguit, firstname.lastname@example.org or Canon Olivier Meney, email@example.com, or dial 510-482-0596.
• St. Patrick Parish, 825 Seventh St., Rodeo: Masses, 5 a.m. Dec. 16-24 followed by breakfast in the parish hall. Details: Kathy Pruett, 510-799-4406, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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