Diaspora News

Fil Ams pack the L.A. Cathedral for Simbang Gabi

High Mass during Simbang Gabi Photo © Abner Galino
High Mass during Simbang Gabi Photo © Abner Galino

THOUSANDS of Filipino Americans flocked to the Our Lady of the Angels church in downtown Los Angeles on Friday (December 15) for the opening of the nine-day traditional Simbang Gabi (now on its 14th year in LA).

A parade of Parol (Christmas lanterns) started the celebration. Dozens of parol were carried by ministers from different parishes of the pastoral regions of Santa Barbara, San Fernando, San Gabriel and San Pedro. Representatives from the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles, business and civic organizations also joined the parade of parol.

Devotees dressed in colorful traditional Filipino costume danced ahead of the parade inside the cathedral.

Simbang Gabi participants Photo © Abner Galino
Simbang Gabi participants Photo © Abner Galino

The Filipino Ministry of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles organized the event under the theme: “Jesus, make us generous dispensers of your divine mercy.

LA Archbishop Jose H. Gomez officiated the Mass.

Father Albert Avenido, head of the LA Filipino Ministry, said Simbang Gabi is part of the Filipino’s rich cultural heritage. The ministry, Avenido added, consider it as service to the faithfuls who anticipate Christmas. Simbang Gabi is one of the traditions that strengthens the Filipino American families and brings peace and unity to the community.

Abner Galino
The author is a poet and a writer. He was a cultural worker before he became a reporter for Tinig ng Masa and Malaya Midday Edition during the Marcos regime. He later became a reporter of People's Tonight shortly after 1986 EDSA Revolution. He went on to become its Chief of Reporters, City Editor and News Editor. He retired after 15 years in the Journal Group of Publications. He now writes for Weekend Balita and the US Asian Post (USAP), weekly Filipino-American newspapers based in Los Angeles, California.

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