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The Archdiocese of Chicago to Celebrate its 36th Annual Simbáng Gabi from December 15 – 23, 2021, Marking 500 Years of Catholicism in the Philippines

Nearly 60 archdiocesan parishes will participate in the Filipino Catholic tradition with a nine-day novena to the Blessed Mother.

Chicago, (Dec. 13, 2021) – The Archdiocese of Chicago will celebrate its 36th Simbáng Gabi from Wednesday,  Dec. 15 through Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021. Sponsored by the archdiocese’s Asian Catholic Initiative office, Simbáng Gabi is one of the oldest and most popular Filipino Christmas traditions.

“Simbáng Gabi is a revered custom that prepares us spiritually for Christmas,” said Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago. “Steeped in tradition, this beloved celebration connects generations of Filipino Catholics worldwide to their faith, cultural customs and shared devotion to our Blessed Mother in the great anticipation of the arrival of Jesus’ birth.”

Simbáng Gabi is a nine-day novena to the Blessed Mother traditionally celebrated in a series of dawn Masses by Filipino Catholics around the world. The Masses include liturgies, music, the treasured Filipino Christmas star-shaped symbol of the parol lantern that represents the star of Bethlehem, and native delicacies. The tradition is traced back to the arrival of Spanish missionaries in the Philippines. At the time, the Filipino people adopted the tradition of celebrating pre-Christmas Masses before daybreak known by the popular Spanish name “Misa de Gallo” or "Rooster Mass.'' Simbáng Gabi culminates with the Misa de Gallo on Christmas Eve to welcome the birth of Jesus Christ.  

This year, Chicago-area Filipino Catholics have organized Simbáng Gabi evening Masses at nearly 60 archdiocesan churches with the theme “500 Years Proclaiming Jesus the Word” commemorating 500 Years of Catholicism in the Philippines. Each day of the novena will be dedicated with a special prayer of blessing to honor the ministries of archdiocesan parishes involved with catechesis and evangelization. This is in spirit of the first missionaries who brought the Catholic faith to the Philippines and also continues the original purpose of the Simbáng Gabi which was a way to spread and promote the Catholic faith.

For more information about Simbáng Gabi and for a full schedule of Masses, please visit