12 December 2014 - After a two-year hiatus, Simbang Gabi sa Konsulado (SGK) was revived and is back on its 27th ear, as the delighted Filipino community resumed the traditional nine-day Christmas novena December 04 and will run until December 12 at the Philippine Center New York.
During its opening day, Philippine Consul General Mario De Leon acknowledged the efforts of the community saying, “This is a display of faith at work,” and thanked the organizations and individuals who never tired from requesting, coordinating with the diocese and sending petitions to have the Filipino Christmas custom back in the Consulate General. It may be recalled that New York Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan sent his approval of its return last September after much supplication from the community.
After the Consulate General announced its return, the planning committee started meeting as early as first week of September. As a sign of solidarity and unity, the Consul General cited that 45 organizations bonded together to sponsor the masses, program and fellowship during each of the nine nights. He noted with praise that the community is faithful in observing the religious tradition and expressed his hope for the younger generations to carry on the celebration of the Simbang Gabi and Panunuluyan year after year. He further encouraged the mass-goers to offer the novena prayers for the safety of the Philippines and the Filipinos in light of the incoming storm Hagupit/Ruby.
Each of the evening starts with a recital of the rosary at 6:00 p.m. and followed by a reflection video on the Nativity verse, and the celebration of the Eucharist. On the last day, a live re-enactment of the Panunuluyan will be staged. A simple community fellowship and light dinner salo-salo proceeds at the Gallery Lobby, which includes caroling and gift-giving.
The mass on the first night was celebrated by Father Patrick Longalong, who also served as the SGK Planning Committee Spiritual Director. Papal Nuncio to the United Nations and Boholano Archbishop Bernadito Auza presided the mass on the third day.
For the first time, SGK is recorded and broadcasted on live streaming via Handang Tumulong President Troi Santos’ YouTube account. END