The Cultural Center of the Philippines has been hosting nine-day early morning Masses before Christmas, or “Simbang Gabi,” for the past 15 years. This year, the center will be celebrating it online.
The dawn Masses, which used to be highlighted by the performances of the country’s artists, attracted at least a thousand people every day.
This year, the Masses and the performances will be going online with the aim to lift the spirit of Filipinos devastated by the recent typhoons and the pandemic.
The online “Simbang Gabi” will start on December 15 at 9 p.m. (anticipated Mass), and December 16 at 5 a.m. (for the dawn Mass). It will be streamed via the official CCP Facebook page and YouTube Channel of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
Bringing the rituals of life from the regions, the center partners with various parishes all over the country, including the Our Lady of Sorrows in Pasay City; St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Loboc, Bohol; Our Mother of Perpetual Help (Redemptorist) Church in San Miguel, Iligan City; Holy Cross Parish (Margot) in Sapang Bato, Pampanga;
Our Lady of Montserrat Parish in Jaro, Iloilo City; San Pedro Cathedral (also known as the Davao Cathedral) in Davao City, Davao; Our Lady of Piat Basilica in Piat, Cagayan; Sto. Niño de Tacloban Parish in Tacloban City; and St. Francis Xavier Parish in Pueblo de Oro, Cagayan de Oro City.
On December 24, 9 p.m., the Misa de Aguinaldo will be celebrated from St. Gregory the Great Cathedral Parish (also known as the Albay Cathedral) in Legazpi City with Monsignor Noe Thomas.
The CCP “Simbang Gabi” will culminate with a special Christmas Day Mass (December 25, 10 a.m.) with Cardinal Luis Tagle celebrating from Rome.
As a pre-Mass event, there will be a 10 to 15-minute video clip of the past “Simbang Gabi” activities, including performances of the Philippine Madrigal Singers, the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, Tanghalang Pilipino, Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, among others.
“In the times of crises and pandemics, art and spirituality help us rise from despair,” said Ariel Yonzon, head of the center’s Production and Exhibition department.