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The Filipino community of Tampa Bay will be celebrating the 2nd day of Simbang Gabi (Christmas Novena Mass) at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 7:00 PM.
“Simbang Gabi” is a devotional nine-day series of Masses practiced by Catholics and Aglipayans in the Philippines in anticipation of Christmas and to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary. The masses are held daily from December 16 to December 24 in the early mornings. On the last day of the Simbang Gabi, which is Christmas Eve, the service is instead called Misa de Gallo or “Rooster’s Mass”. The Simbang Gabi originated in the early days of Spanish rule over the Philippines as a practical compromise for farmers, who began work before sunrise to avoid the noonday heat out in the fields. Priests began to say Mass in the early mornings instead of the evening novenas more common in the rest of the Hispanic world. This cherished Christmas custom eventually became a distinct feature of Philippine culture and became a symbol of sharing.
The Filipino community, organized by the Sto. Nino Shrine USA, Inc., will celebrate the nine-day Simbang Gabi in various churches in the Tampa Bay Area from December 15 to 24.