LOS ANGELES — The biggest Filipino Christmas Mass in Los Angeles continues to get bigger and brighter each year.
Over 100 parishes and thousands of Filipinos kicked off Simbang Gabi at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
“Masaya masaya ginagawa narin every year — I’m so happy this is being held every year,” said Vilma Guiang of St Brendan Church.
“There’s so many parols, so many people. Very beautiful.”
Aside from the church groups, Filipino community organizations such as the National Federation for Filipino American Associations, NaFFAA, also marched down the aisles with their message.
That’s why we’re here,” said Noel Omega from NaFFAA, “we want to show our Filipino empowerment.”
This year’s mass was celebrated by Archbishop Jose Gomez and co-celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Alex Aclan with the theme “Come and Celebrate as We Encounter Christ for We Are One Body.”
“The church calls us to take on the joyful mindset of anticipation, as the birthday of Jesus nears,” said LA Bishop Alex Aclan.
As Filipinos in Los Angeles celebrate a taste of home, they also take even more pride in knowing that the Vatican is also honoring this tradition.
Hours before these Filipinos put on their Filipinana and turned on their parols.
Pope Francis also presided over the very first Simbang Gabi at the Vatican.
“It’s great we’re really excited for that. We are so proud,” said Liway Ty, St. Finn Barr.
And while it’s a first for the Vatican, Los Angeles Filipinos take joy in know that the Filipino Christmas mass at the LA Cathedral has been held for 17-years, while some parishes all over the county have had Simbang Gabi since the 1980s.