Launch of Simbang Gabi (Novena Dawn Masses)

Bishop Anthony Randazzo was the Main Presider at the Mass to launch the Simbang Gabi Novena 2021 held at Our Lady of Dolours Chatswood Parish last Saturday night, 11th December.

Simbang Gabi (Night/Dawn Mass) is a 9-day Novena Mass celebration leading up to Christmas. It is a Filipino Christmas tradition introduced by the ever-growing Filipino communities and embraced by many parishes in the Diocese of Broken Bay.
This is the third year that the Bishop has graced this occasion and the Filipino Chaplaincy is truly grateful for his support.

We are blessed to witness and experience this Filipino way of waiting for the coming of Jesus Christ by adorning the church with PAROLS (stars) to symbolise the light of Christ. PAROLS also adorn homes to show that families are ready to receive and welcome Christ.

Launch of Simbang Gabi Image 2The Bishop noted that Simbang Gabi has become quite popular in the Diocese and thanked the Filipino Chaplaincy for its introduction. He was delighted with the PAROLS and the visible signs of joy around the Church, reminding us of St Paul’s desire to always be happy in the Lord.

Image caption: Bishop Anthony Randazzo with members of the Filipino community following the Launch of Simbang Gabi at Our Lady of Dolours, Chatswood.

Bishop Anthony said that this year has been marked by trying times which proved challenging to many but humbling to some. He reminded us that our celebration should be guided not by our own needs but by the Light of Christ, our Lord of Light.

He pointed out that many have suffered from loneliness, isolation, illness, anxiety or separation from family and friends. Along the way, there were those who brought hope, faith and love to those in need. This is what the community of our church is all about, to be more like Christ, to be a community of faith who are living members of the body of Christ.

The Bishop reminded us to pray in joyful anticipation of the coming of Christ during the Novena Masses. He told us to light our PAROLS for all the world to see and by the power of the Holy Spirit become witnesses to the light and glory of Christ. And he wished us all: “May the beauty of the Christmas Lights inspire you to take this light and be a light to the world”.

All the PAROLS in church, brought by representatives of the different communities, including the ones that lined the church aisles prepared by the Filipino Chaplaincy Chatswood Parish (FCCP) and others who brought their own, were blessed by Bishop Anthony. These were all happily taken home to share with their parish church or their family.

This event was made possible by the ongoing work of many volunteers of the Filipino Chaplaincy in the parishes of Our Lady of Dolours in Chatswood, Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral Parish in Waitara, St. Patrick’s Church in East Gosford, St Cecilia’s Church in Wyong, and St Kevin’s Church in Dee Why. Chatswood hosted the Launch Mass this year.

Thank you Bishop Anthony Randazzo for Presiding Mass and the clergy from the Diocese of Broken Bay and the Archdiocese of Sydney who concelebrated with Bishop Anthony. Thank you to everyone who came from all over Sydney and suburbs to join the celebration. Thank you to all the hard working volunteers from the FCCP and other communities. A Filipino event is incomplete without a gathering afterwards. Due to COVID restrictions, this was not possible but the FCCP prepared goodie bags for everyone to take home.

Christmas Novena Masses commence on 15th-23rd December at 7:30 pm at St Kevin’s Church in Dee Why and on 16th-24th December at 5:30 am at Our Lady of Dolours in Chatswood. Triduum Masses will be held at St Cecilia’s in Wyong from the 21st-23rd December at 7:00pm.

Cynthia Martin for the Filipino Chaplaincy, Diocese of Broken Bay