Filipinos live Christmas spirit with pre-dawn Masses – UCA News

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

In the nine days leading to Christmas, Cristine Pascual goes to bed early as she needs to rise at around 2:30 am instead of 6:00 am like the rest of the year.

Pascual, 42, a Catholic mother of three children aged 14, 13, and 9, finishes her household chores quickly and rushes to the St. James the Great Church in Cavite in the southern part of the Philippine capital Manila.

She joins hundreds of Catholics for a traditional pre-dawn Novena Mass, known as Simbang Gabi, that begins at 4:00 am and lasts for more than an hour.

“I’ve been doing this for the past five years. I always make a wish after I complete all the Masses,” Pascual, a teacher in a public school, told UCA News.

“Simbang Gabi nourishes my spiritual life”

Sometimes, her husband also joins her.

After the Mass, she returns home and cooks breakfast for the family. Once they finish breakfast, she prepares them for school.

“Two are taking online classes, one is doing face-to-face. It’s difficult but Simbang Gabi nourishes my spiritual life,” she said.

Pascual says God has fulfilled all her wishes in the past years.

“God fulfills my wishes, in one way or another. I attribute this to my devotion to God by attending Simbang Gabi Masses,” she added.

Millions of Filipino Catholics like her have begun flocking to churches to attend the Simbang Gabi, a nine-day series of Masses starting on Dec. 16.

Filipinos live Christmas spirit with pre-dawn Masses – UCA News

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