The Filipino-American community celebrated their 16th Annual Simbang Gabi at St. Patrick Cathedral

December 15, 2018

The Filipino community celebrated the 16th Annual Simbang Gabi at St. Patrick Cathedral on Saturday, December 15. The “Sweet Sixteen” celebration started with a bilingual Mass in English and Tagalog with Filipino music and children in traditional Filipino dress processing to the altar. Bishop Mark J. Seitz, D.D. was the main celebrant. Mass was followed by a dinner and cultural celebration with dancing, singing, a raffle, and the now popular “roll call” where Filipinos cheer when the name of their city or region is called. This year’s theme was Renewing our Faith in God this Christmas or Pasko ng pagbabalik loob sa Panginoon in Tagalog. 

Literally translated as “Evening Mass”, the traditional Filipino Simbang Gabi is a nine-day novena to the Blessed Mother. The novena begins on December 16 as early as 3 in the morning and culminates with the “Misa de Gallo” on Christmas Eve to welcome the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. 

Proceeds from the event go to the Filipino-American Endowment Fund and support retired priests and vocations. Part of the Foundation’s Catholic Legacy Fund, the Filipino-American Endowment Fund is a legacy to the Filipino heritage and ensures gifts for retired priests and vocations in perpetuity. The idea to create a permanent fund was conceived in 2006 and the fund was established in 2008. Since that time, the fund has grown to over $150,000 and, since its inception, annual distributions from the endowed fund total $33,840.  

Most recently, the Filipino community has seen the ordination of two Filipinos to the Priesthood: Fr. Gleen Carpe and Fr. Victorino Loresca. They are looking forward to the ordination of Filipino seminarian, Lloyd Divinagracia, in the coming years. The Filipino community holds dear that they are, in many ways, a part of the mens' formation through prayer, stewardship, and investment in the endowed fund.

In honor of the Sweet Sixteen, become a Friend of the Foundation with a recurring monthly gift of $10 to the Filipino-American Endowment Fund. For more information, please contact Major Gifts Officer Sofía Larkin at 915.872.8412 or

Photo Credit: Joe Najera

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