Coverage Areas:  National |  South Carolina |  Aiken |  Beaufort |  Charleston |  Columbia |  Greenville |  Myrtle Beach |  Rock Hill
Menu

Filipino tradition of Misa de Gallo honors Mary

Filipino Catholics traditionally prepare for Christmas by attending nine Masses dedicated to Mary.

 

The custom is called Misa de Gallo or “Mass of the Rooster” in Spanish, and Simbang Gabi, “Night Mass” in Tagalog. It dates back to the 17th century, when farmers and other laborers attended early worship during the Christmas season so they could receive blessings before going to work.

 

Over the centuries, the tradition of morning Mass evolved into a way to honor Mary and spiritually prepare for Jesus’ coming on Christmas Day. Misa de Gallo refers to the dawn rooster crows that used to greet worshippers headed to church.

It has been a tradition at Immaculate Conception Church in Goose Creek for 26 years. This year the large Filipino community celebrated on Dec. 15-23. Simbang Gabi was celebrated at Jesus, Our Risen Savior Church in Spartanburg.

In the Philippines, Masses are usually held at 4 or 5 a.m., but in the United States, the schedule has changed to accommodate work and family. In Goose Creek all but one liturgy started at 7:30 p.m.

“People of all ages take part, and our non-Filipino parishioners also look forward to this tradition,” said Adorno Father H. Nestor Abog Jr., parochial vicar at Immaculate Conception. “It’s a chance to show the faith of the Filipino community, our devotion to the Blessed Mother, and our great love for the church.”

Father Abog said families in the Philippines walk to church together for Mass at dawn, and people sell food outside afterward.

At Immaculate Conception, each liturgy was in English and featured carols dedicated to Mary sung in Tagalog. Afterward people enjoyed traditional cuisine in the parish hall.

Father Abog said the community received permission from the Vatican to sing the Gloria, because the prayer is usually not sung during Advent. Priests also wore white vestments at each Mass.

Filipinos in Goose Creek started Misa de Gallo in 1985 to preserve a beloved tradition that reminds them of home, said Sally Ani, a parishioner who has attended all the celebrations.

“We honor the blessed Virgin Mary for nine nights, and it’s significant because it strengthens our relationship with family and friends,” Ani said. “Our faith is also strengthened through spiritual preparation for Christmas. We’re offering sacrifice for more blessings from our Lord before he comes into the world on Dec. 25.”

Many families get together during this time, and it’s also a good opportunity for members of the Filipino community to reconnect, Ani said.






  • Diocesan Events Calendar
    View All Events
    Oct 13 Diocesan Evangelization Conference
    From the Calendar of Ethnic Ministries
    Oct 278:00 am Day of Continuing Education for Deacons
    From the Calendar of Diaconate
    Nov 1 Black Catholic History Month
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Nov 1010:00 am Junta de Equipo Diocesano de Emmaus
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Nov 1210:00 am Junta Diocesana
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Nov 17 Diocese of Charleston Native American Catholic Heritage Celebration
    From the Calendar of Native American Ministry
    Nov 18 Vietnamese Martyrs Celebration
    From the Calendar of Vietnamese Ministry
    Dec 1 Black Catholics Heritage Celebration
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Dec 15 Simbang Gabi for Filipino Catholics
    From the Calendar of Filipino Ministry
    Dec 25 Diocesan Television Christmas Special Fox 21
    From the Calendar of Ethnic Ministries
    Jan 412:00 am Class 2019 Ordination Retreat
    From the Calendar of Diaconate
    Jan 812:00 am Retiro Espiritual de Emmaus
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Jan 1210:00 am Junta de Equipo Diocesano de Emmaus
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Feb 911:00 am Ordination of Permanent Deacons
    From the Calendar of Diaconate