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Simbang Gabi lights the way to Christmas

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SAN DIEGO — From candles to beautifully decorated “parols,” the Simbang Gabi Mass at St. Gregory the Great Church in Scripps Ranch was a feast of light and color.

The Diocesan Commission for Filipino Catholics organized the third annual Mass, held on Dec. 14. A total of 20 parishes and groups participated, five more than in 2021.

Cardinal Robert W. McElroy celebrated the Mass. He blessed the candles and star-shaped lanterns that were symbolically lighting the way to Christ as they accompanied Mary awaiting the birth of her Son.

The Mass serves as a commissioning for the faithful, who then returned to their parishes for their own Simbang Gabi celebrations.

At one point, the Mass-goers raised their hands to bless Chris Bongato, a seminarian who was to be ordained to the transitional diaconate three days later. A Filipino-American, he has served the commission in different capacities since 2016.

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