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St. Bede to Sponsor Third Filipino Simbang Gabi Event

December 14, 2006

A celebration of the Eucharist in the traditional Filipino Simbang Gabi will be held at the St. Bede the Venerable Catholic Church located at 215 Foothill Blvd. in La Cañada Flintridge on Monday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m.

The celebration is sponsored by the St. Bede Simbang Gabi Committee co-chaired by Grace Mercado Ouano and Ludi Cruz-Herrera.

Simbang Gabi has been adapted from its roots in the Philippine Catholic tradition. It showcases the unique religious experience of the Filipino people that was fostered by their economic milieu.

It developed as a tradition of the Christmas season where the people commit themselves to celebrate the Mass nine consecutive days (as a novena) to prepare their hearts for the coming of the Lord on Christmas day.

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In the Philippines, it is celebrated at dawn at 4 or 5 a.m. to allow the general populace who are mostly farmers and fishermen to participate before they start their work day. However, in its American adaptation, it is held in the early evening to allow for greater participation.

St. Bede's Simbang Gabi will showcase the rich spiritual character of Filipino religious life. It serves as a cultural bridge between the Filipino immigrant and their locally born children and grandchildren who want to know more about their cultural identity.

Traditional and Filipino music for the Mass will be provided by the combined St. Brendan and Astoria Simbang Gabi Choirs. After the Eucharistic celebration, a reception will follow at the parish hall showcasing Filipino musical talents including Rondalla and piano performances.

To raise funds for the Simbang Gabi and for the Archdiocesan Filipino Ministry, the St. Bede Simbang Gabi Committee co-sponsored, along with the Gawad Kalinga, a "Thanksgiving Concert" featuring the Filipino artists Carlos Ibay and Stephanie Reese, on Nov. 19 at the Celebrity Centre International in Hollywood.

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