by Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News
LOS ANGELES – It’s the most anticipated and most attended Christmas event for Southern California Filipinos: the annual Simbang Gabi and parol parade at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
It’s nice to be here every year it’s like our tradition,” said Lucy Ramos, from Sacred Heart church in Lancaster.
Churches from throughout the Archdiocese of L.A. bring their own paroles. ready for nine days of prayer, as a special way to close out a year of mercy.
“Simbang gabi brings the community [together],” said Lem Amit, from the Filipino Ministry of LA. “The tradition of prayer is the novena mass that we celebrate, this tradition we have inherited from our ancestor,s that we continue to pray especially as we celebrate the year of mercy.”
While the Filipino faithful proudly bring their big bright lanterns to the cathedral, for the next few days everyone will also be bringing their prayers of thanks, peace, and personal requests to their own parishes daily at Simbang Gabi masses.
“That’s all we need. Peace in the world, kahit sino presidente lalo lalo na ng Yari sa Syria sa Aleppo talaga magulo sila,” said Editha Rinaldi from St. Columban.
“Peace all over the world, especially the Philippines, that our president will have the wisdom to end violence,” said Bernie Ganon, from the Pilipino Institute for Language and Culture.
Annually, the Christmastime event brings in 3,000 kababayans, and this year was no different. The filipino faithful celebrated with Archbishop Jose Gomez, a handful of bishops, and dozens of Filipino priests.
The topic of the mass’s homily focused on anticipation, and waiting for the birth and second coming of Jesus.
The Filipino faithful will also be waiting for those prayer requests to be answered.