Simbang Gabi

St. Louise is once again joining with local parishes in a Novena
of Masses in preparation for the birth of our Savior.

St. Louise’s Simbang Gabi celebration will be held at the 4:30 PM Mass on Saturday, December 23rd with a reception following in the Msgr. Pierce Hall.

During this Christmas season, Filipinos continue to celebrate this annual Novena Mass, “Simbang Gabi,” a tradition they brought with them from the Philippines. Simbang Gabi was adapted from the Catholic Misa de Gallo, which literally means “Mass of the Rooster,” to indicate it is held when the rooster crows.

Simbang Gabi traces its roots to Mexico when, in 1587, Fray Diego de Soria, petitioned the Pope for permission to hold Christmastide Masses outdoors because the church could not accommodate the multitude that attended the dawn services. The tradition started in the Philippines in the 16th century. It gave the farmers a chance to hear Mass before setting out for the fields. Rural Filipinos were used to starting the day two hours before sunrise. Church bells rang to call the faithful to Simbang Gabi. In some provinces, brass bands played traditional Christmas music and parish priests would go as far as knocking on the doors of every home.

During this season, Filipinos create beautiful decorations called “parol”, paper lanterns to commemorate the Star of Bethlehem. These lanterns were used by the farmers to guide them in the dark to the Holy Mass. Choirs sang Tagalog songs such as Pasko na Naman” (It’s Christmas Again).