Archdiocese OKs Simbang Gabi – for this year

The Filipino community welcomed a decision by the Archdiocese of New York to allow the Simbang Gabi masses to continue at the consulate building this year.

“In light of the fact that the Simbang Gabi masses are to begin in about two weeks, and that announcements of their dates and locations have already been distributed, it seems that we ought not to change anything this year,” Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan said in a letter to the consulate-general.

The decision was only for this year, and future Simbang Gabi masses are still up for discussions. Deputy Consul General Tess Dizon de Vega explained to The FilAm the archdiocese was willing to sit down with the organizers to “discuss the future celebrations of the Simbang Gabi including the reasons for (the masses) to continue to be held at the Philippine Center.”

With the archdiocese relenting on a decision to put a stop to the practice of holding Simbang Gabi outside of “sacred places of worship,” the masses will go on as planned. The archdiocese said the Vatican’s cannon law stipulates that masses with eucharistic rites should be held only in churches. The consulate has issued an invitation for the community to attend Simbang Gabi from December 7 to 15 followed by a traditional salu-salo. Masses start at 6:30 p.m., except on December 10 and 11 where they start at 2 p.m.

Community organizations take turns hosting each of the nine masses. Two groups – the Catholic Fellowship of Young Filipino Professionals and the JCI Philippine-New York – will host the December 9 Simbang Gabi where there will be scripture readings and reflections by FilAms on what it means to “celebrate being Filipino and being Catholic.”

The consulate general and organizers said they were “deeply grateful” to the archdiocese for its “appreciation of a Philippine tradition.”

Businesswoman Myrna de Guia-Gutierrez was likewise pleased at the decision.

She said, “If Archbishop Dolan will give in to our petition as a community (which he did), well and good. But if not, we should take this ‘change’ in a positive way.”

She said any violation of the canonical law should be taken seriously by Catholics “if they are true to their religion.” – Cristina DC Pastor

One Comment

  1. Owen wrote:

    Great article. I enjoy reading your magazine.

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