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Don’t doze off at ‘Simbang Gabi’

/ 07:06 AM December 15, 2017

CHRISTMAS TRADITION. A traditional Filipino Christmas or Paskong Pinoy is the nine-day dawn masses that start on December 16 and end on Christmas Day. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Do you find yourself nodding off at the homily during “Simbang Gabi” (dawn Mass)?

Priests don’t have to resort to being “entertainers” just to ensure that their flock listen to them during the dawn Masses before Christmas, according to a committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

Priests should deliver relevant and not entertaining homilies to the faithful, said Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP’s permanent committee on public affairs.

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Some priests, in an effort to keep parishioners awake, may feel tempted to “entertain” people just to get their attention, according to Secillano.

“We don’t want our priests to be entertainers … The Mass is not entertainment. People owe it to God to be very much alive when they are in church. So the burden is not on the priests,” he said.

Secillano issued the reminder as millions of Filipino Catholics prepare themselves for Christmas, particularly the nine-day Simbang Gabi, which begins on Saturday.

Anticipated Masses

During the nine days before Christmas Day, Masses are usually held at dawn, though some churches celebrate anticipated Masses the night before, and culminate with the “Misa de Gallo” on Christmas Eve.

Some churchgoers, however, cannot stay awake during the early Masses, which are usually held at 4 a.m.

Secillano said people should be responsible enough to be attentive when in church.

“But, of course, the priests are also expected to deliver not entertaining homilies, but relevant, substantial homilies that will edify the people,” he said.

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Life’s concerns

Relevant homilies are not necessarily about sociopolitical issues, but concerns that are significant to an individual’s life.

“For example, there are so many problems that an individual faces. So the Word of God should offer some solace and assurance,” Secillano said.

Attempts to entertain may only lead to the faithful not getting anything substantial from the priest’s homily.

“If a priest will be talking about so many of these entertaining things, you will keep people awake. But at the same time, I don’t think the people will get something substantial,” Secillano said.

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TAGS: Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, Christmas, Dawn Mass, Fr. Jerome Secillano, Philippine news updates, Simbang Gabi
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