Some nationalities hold their Simbang Gabi at night, but “you have to understand that the staff (in the church) are not Filipinos so you would be disturbing them just to be able to hold early morning masses,” he added.
Michael Varcas
Simbang Gabi gaining popularity in other countries
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - December 19, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Filipino tradition of Simbang Gabi (dawn mass) is gaining popularity in other countries, to the point that Filipino priests are being requested to celebrate the mass abroad during the Christmas season.

Archdiocese of Manila Office of Communications head Fr. Roy Belen yesterday said Filipino Catholics based in other countries want to experience the traditional dawn masses and they want a Filipino priest to be the celebrant.

“I have been hearing of Filipino priests being ‘borrowed’ from Manila to hold nine-day dawn masses in other countries because their chaplains are not Filipinos so they would not understand the Filipino culture,” Belen said.

As early as September or October, Belen said they would be writing to the priests and inviting them to officiate the dawn masses abroad. They would also be seeking permission from the priest’s bishop or parish priest.

Belen added that the nine-day Simbang Gabi, which runs from Dec. 16 to 24, is not only observed in Rome or in Italy but in some parts of the United States, such as California, and even in the Middle East.

There are even instances when they would ask the priest to stay until the New Year.

Roy said that despite the shortage of priests in Manila and the high demand for priests during the busy month of December, priests are allowed to travel abroad during this time.

In Rome, they would at times seek permission from the pope for permission to hold the Simbang Gabi at St. Peter’s Basilica, since for many Filipinos, part of their celebration of Christmas is attending at least one dawn mass.

Some nationalities hold their Simbang Gabi at night, but “you have to understand that the staff (in the church) are not Filipinos so you would be disturbing them just to be able to hold early morning masses,” he added.

The dawn masses are usually held between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m., while anticipated dawn masses can take place between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.

DAWN MASS ROY BELEN SIMBANG GABI
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