By Leslie Ann Aquino
“Simbang Gabi” (dawn masses) are not for granting wishes, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo reminds the Catholic faithful who treat the nine-day novena masses as an opportunity to make a wish only.
“Completing the nine days of ‘Simbang Gabi’ is not for their wishes to be granted. That is a wrong belief. That is not what going to the Simbang Gabi is for,” he said in an interview.
Pabillo explained that the purpose of the “Simbang Gabi” is to spiritually prepare the faithful for the birth of Jesus Christ, which is celebrated every December 25, Christmas Day.
“The nine days of praying is part of the preparation for the big feast of Christmas. For the formation of the faith and thanking God for His generosity,” he said.
“The nine days (of going to Mass) is a manifestation of the people’s persistence. Imagine you will wake up early for nine straight mornings… It is a sign of your love of God.”
The prelate hopes that the wrong perception about “Simbang Gabi” would be corrected in the celebration of dawn masses in parishes. “The priests should explain this in their homilies in order to correct the people’s thinking.”
The traditional Misa de Aguinaldo or Simbang Gabi is a nine-day novena of Masses held prior to Christmas Day, usually at 4:00 a.m.
In urban areas such as Metro Manila, aside from the early morning Mass, they also have an anticipated Mass on the evening of December 15.
The Simbang Gabi Masses are culminated with the “Misa de Gallo” on Christmas eve.