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Community lights the way to Savior


ENTRANCE: The vigil Mass began with a procession of 21 parish groups carrying their parols. (Credit: David Maung)

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SAN DIEGO — Simbang Gabi is a Filipino devotional novena of Masses held in anticipation of the birth of the Savior and in honor of His mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Filipino Catholic community held the fourth annual vigil Mass on Dec. 14 that launched the novena. A total of 21 Filipino parish and ministry groups converged at St. Michael Church (San Diego), overflowing with more than 1,000 faithful.

Cardinal Robert W. McElroy celebrated the Mass, accompanied by the diocese’s three auxiliary bishops and about 20 priests.

The Mass opened with a procession of lighted five-point stars, or parols, a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem. And at one point the faithful lighted candles, signifying that they, too, were the light leading to Christ.

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