Scaled-down variations of Simbang Gabi, or “Mass at Night time,” was celebrated at church buildings throughout the diocese
QUEENS VILLAGE -— Lita Panganiban was respiratory closely via a blue face masks after celebrating the sixth night of “Simbang Gabi” novena Plenty with visitors and different parishioners at Our Woman of Lourdes Church, Dec. 21.
Varied ministries throughout the Diocese of Brooklyn tailored to new norms amidst coronavirus security protocols, together with limiting church capability, carrying masks, and socially distanced seated within the pews. For Filipinos celebrating “Simbang Gabi,” or “Mass at Night time” on the Queens Village church, the adjustment meant a scaled-down model of its conventional celebration. However for Panganiban, the important a part of the occasion will proceed, the 73-year-old says.
“We imagine that that is the time Jesus was born,” she stated. “You possibly can’t cease it.”
Panganiban has been a parishioner on the Queens church for greater than 40 years. For greater than 25 of these years, she has helped coordinate a number of Filipino cultural occasions, together with Simbang Gabi.
“We organized it, and we tried to observe all of the social distancing guidelines,” she stated. “Earlier than we used to have meals each evening, however now we will’t do it. [Usually,] each evening somebody serves meals after which on the finish, now we have a giant Christmas celebration.”
Panganiban stated she misses the meals and fellowship a part of the celebration.
“It is a huge custom of the Philippines,” she added.
As for Ofelia De Jesus, a retiree, and member of the Filipino ministry, she says Simbang Gabi is one occasion that reminds her of dwelling as a result of Christmas decorations within the Philippines begin taking place in September. De Jesus stated she couldn’t journey to the Philippines due to the COVID-19 journey restrictions. So within the meantime, she says persevering with her religion traditions will at the least carry her pleasure.
For Filipinos, the Christmas season’s coronary heart is “Simbang Gabi,” or “Mass at Night time,” a nine-day novena of Plenty that culminates on Christmas Eve. The custom started throughout the Spanish colonial interval of the Philippines — which dates again to the early sixteenth century. The cultural celebration on the Queens parish began within the Nineties and has introduced a robust sense of group for parishioners.
Father Patrick Longalong, the pastor of Our Woman of Lourdes, is the coordinator of the Ministry to Filipino Immigrants. He says the group understands the security protocols in place and that they’re doing their finest to accommodate the individuals who can attend the Mass and those that are watching at dwelling.
On every other given Simbang Gabi 12 months, not throughout a worldwide pandemic, a social gathering would come with cultural dancing, serving trays of conventional Filipino meals, singing, and fellowship. This 12 months, parishioners determined to distribute the meals in to-go baggage.
“You actually can not take away the meals portion of it,” Father Longalong added. “There’s something about having meals inside a group gathering. It brings individuals collectively. It’s an indication of friendship and a giant a part of the worth of hospitality. So by giving meals or providing meals, it’s not only a well mannered gesture, however it’s a gesture of hospitality.”
Different diocesan parishes celebrated Simbang Gabi, included St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Flatlands; St. Sebastian Church, Woodside, and St. Mary Gate of Heaven Church, Ozone Park. Corpus Christi Church in Woodside didn’t maintain the standard celebration.
“I believe the benefit of that is that we centered proper now on what’s necessary — which is the Mass,” stated Father Longalong. “It’s not only a custom. For them, it’s a chance to attach with God.”