Pastoral Notes on the Celebration of the Simbang Gabi
May we inform and remind Your Reverences of the following in connection with the celebration of the Misa de Aguinaldo/Misa de Gallo or Simbang Gabi in the Diocese of Pasig.
We will maintain the status quo in the Diocese of Pasig. We will allow the practice of “anticipated” Simbang Gabi Masses or the anticipation of the Dawn Masses on the preceding evening from December 15 to 23.
The practice of “anticipated” Simbang Gabi Masses is already a pastoral accommodation. However, we must consider the following guidelines.
1. Simbang Gabi is a novena of Masses in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Expectant Mother of God, and in preparation for the commemoration of the birth of our Savior. Therefore, the Mass formularies for these Masses (Opening Prayer, Prayer over the Gifts and Prayer after Communion) should be taken from the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Advent/ Pangkat ng mga Pagdiriwang sa Karangalan ng Mahal na Birhen sa Panahon ng Pagdating ng Panginoon (see Aklat ng Pagmimisa sa Roma p. 687), except for the Preface which will take the Preface of Advent II/Ikalawang Pagbubunyi o Prepasyo sa Panahon ng Pagdating.
2. With these, we discourage Your Reverences to use the presidential prayers (Opening prayer, Prayer over the Gifts and Prayer after Communion) from the missallete for it uses the Mass formulary proper of Advent and not from the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Advent. You can just use the missallete for the Prayers of the Faithful.
3. The Gloria is sung in Simbang Gabi Masses and white vestment is used even on Sunday (Dec 15 evening and Dec. 22 morning and evening) but for Simbang Gabi Masses only.
4. There is no Credo/Sumasampalataya during Simbang Gabi, except for Dec 15 evening and Dec. 22 morning and evening Simbang Gabi because we are using the Sunday Liturgy for that Masses.
5. For the 1st Simbang Gabi on the evening of Sunday (Dec 15); we shall take the Mass formularies of the 3rd Sunday of Advent since we cannot anticipate the weekday Mass for the Sunday Mass. Therefore, presidential prayers and readings should be that of the 3rd Sunday of Advent. White vestment is used, Gloria is sung and Credo is prayed.
6. For the 1st Simbang Gabi on the Morning of Dec. 16; As approved by the CBCP, readings will be taken from Friday of the 3rd Week of Advent (See Ordo)
7. For Simbang Gabi on the evening of Saturday (Dec. 21);Morning and Evening of Sunday (Dec. 22); we shall take the Mass formularies of the 4th Sunday of Advent. Therefore, presidential prayers and readings should be that of the 4th Sunday of Advent even on the evening of Sunday (Dec. 22) because we cannot anticipate the following day. White vestment is used, Gloria is sung and Credo is prayed during these Simbang Gabi masses: evening of Saturday (Dec 21);Morning and Evening of Sunday (Dec 22).
8. From the beginning the Simbang Gabi has always been celebrated at an early hour, from 4 to 5 o’clock in the morning. It is this Mass alone that is considered Simbang Gabi or Misa de Aguinaldo. Other Masses celebrated during the nine days before Christmas are celebrated as Masses of the Advent season, and should follow the norms of the liturgy of the Advent season. If the Misa de Aguinaldo is celebrated from 8:00 o’clock in the evening onwards, it should be motivated by genuine pastoral care for the spiritual benefit of the faithful.
The celebration of the Misa de Aguinaldo at other times, e.g., morning, mid-day or late afternoon Mass, is not in keeping with the liturgical norms and is to be regarded as an abuse. Therefore, only the dawn and, when pastorally required, the evening Masses are considered Simbang Gabior Misa de Aguinaldo.
9. Please refer to the Ordo for other pertinent liturgical notes for your guidance.
We hope that this clarification will help you guide your Christian community.
Thank you very much.
REV. FR. DANIEL L. ESTACIO
Ministry for Liturgical Affairs