December 15, 2017 ~ St. Peregrine Laziosi Diocesan Shrine. Presided over by Rev Fr Waren Ma. Campilan, OSM, the 6:30 evening mass jumpstarted the Filipino tradition of the Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo or Misa de Aguinaldo in anticipation of Christmas Day. The Shrine has scheduled four novena masses daily all through to December 24th (4AM, 5:30AM, 6:30PM and 8PM). The main altar of the Shrine has been decorated with a mural depicting scenes relative to the 2018 Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons. Colorful lights and beautiful parol lanterns hang from lamp posts and trees to welcome the church goers. The Nativity Scene or Belen is also on display at the parking lot of the Shrine.
Simbang Gabi is a Filipino Christmas tradition. It is a series of nine dawn masses with the first documented Misa de Aguinaldo being held in 1668, according to Fr. Francisco Ignacio Alcina in his book, Historia de las Islas e Indias de Bisayas. The mass starts as early as 4:00 a.m. It begins on December 16 and ends on the midnight of the 24th of December, which is the midnight mass.
The celebration of the Simbang Gabi or Misa de Aguinaldo is a special privilege accorded to the Philippines. It was in the 16th century when Pope Sixtus V decreed that these pre-dawn Masses also be held in the Philippines starting every Dec. 16. The decree was in keeping with the nine-day traditional festivals of Filipinos in celebrating auspicious occasions like harvest times. It was also meant to give farmers a chance to hear Mass before setting out for the fields. Over the years, Filipino communities have made some changes in the way that this event is celebrated. Some parishes celebrate Misa de Gallo around 8- 9 in the evening in order to accommodate the needs of the members of the community who have different work schedules.
The St. Peregrine Laziosi Diocesan Shrine has its schedule of Simbang Gabi Masses below.