BAGUIO CITY- It was a rainy first day of the traditional ‘Simbang Gabi’ on Wednesday, December 16, in the city.
The rains, however, did not deter the Catholic faithful as they flocked to the different churches in the city for the start of nine day dawn masses to Christmas.
Bishop Carlito Cenzon celebrated the first Simbang Gabi at the Baguio Cathedral. He stressed the message of unity among the Filipinos in these times of consequences.
He said Simbang Gabi of 2015 also focuses on the Year of the Eucharist and the Family as spiritual preparation for the International Eucharistic Congress next month in Cebu.
Meanwhile, with the start of the traditional dawn masses or “Simbang Gabi”, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) reminds the faithful of the most important dimension of the celebrations.
The “Simbang Gabi” is not just a tradition that is widely celebrated because it has become fashionable. “It is a significant moment not only because it strengthens relationships among family members or among friends but also because it is the time where our faith is intensified.”
“Simbang Gabi is for worship, not for courtship,” posted at the CBCP website. According to the CBCP, it is sometimes observed that young people in particular tend to playfully congregate with their peers or their “special someone” outside the churches instead of actively participating in the mass.
The traditional Simbang Gabi is a nine-day novena in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, begins December 16 as early as 4 a.m., and culminates with the “Misa de Gallo” on Christmas Eve.
To assure the safety and security and maintain the peace and order situation the Simbang Gabi in the city, Baguio City Police Chief PSSupt. Rolando Miranda said that police officers have been deployed at the different churches in the city as well as the other venues for the masses. Mobile police units are regularly patrolling the different areas particularly the barangays and the central business district where people flock after the masses.
Churchgoers especially the tourists are also reminded to protect their bodies from the cold weather and the rains by wearing thick and warm clothes. (JDP/RMC- PIA CAR)