NEW YORK — The “Simbang Gabi sa Konsulado” is now on its 31st year bringing the East Coast community together, to practice an ages-old Filipino Christmas tradition that involves a series of nine dawn masses on the days leading up to Christmas.
Simbang Gabi organizers said completing the nine dawn masses means your wish will be granted this holiday season.
“Hopefully yung mga petition natin ay ma-i-grant because of the sacrifice na everyday you have to come here to finish simbang gabi,” ang wish ko ay kapayapaan, hindi lang sa Pilipinas at sa buong mundo,” said Edwin Josue.
“Hopefully, our petition would be granted because of the sacrifice of coming here everyday to finish simbang gabi. My wish is peace, not just for the Philippines but for the whole world.”
Recently appointed Apostolic Nuncio of Spain — Archbishop Rev. Bernardito Auza — at his last visit to the Philippine consulate in October said that Simbang Gabi sa Konsulado could be the oldest Simbang Gabi tradition in the U.S.
“It could be the first simbang gabi in theU.S. The first simbang gabi in San Francisco celebrated in the church was only in 1996 – here it’s 1984.”
Auza, for the first time, revealed the real reason why then New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan lifted the archdiocese’s ban for Simbang Gabi masses to be held in a non-church facility like the consulate from 2012 to 2014.
Organizers said Simbang Gabi sa Konsulado has grown so much after its reinstatement in 2014.
This year, 84 Filipino organizations – in partnershp with the New York Philippine Consulate — came together to take turns to sponsor each night of Simbang Gabi.
For attendees – Simbang Gabi is their favorite Filipino holiday tradition – because regardless of their differences – they all have one common goal, to complete it just in time for the birth of Christ.