THE CONDUCT of the nine-day Misa de Gallo, or midnight mass, formed part of the Filipino custom and tradition which Catholics observe every December 16 to 24 of every year.
As early as 3:30 a.m., Catholics stroll out of their homes to attend the midnight mass celebrated by Catholic priests at the nearest church.
This is a tradition that we have inherited from our Spanish colonizers who influenced the Philippines for centuries.
Reverend Fr. Rene Gaylon, parish priest of the Our Lady of the Most Rosary Parish in Barangay Alangilan, Bacolod City officiated the Misa de Gallo which is already on its fifth day from December 16.
He centered his homily on the value of “metanoia,” which means a change in one’s way of life resulting from penitence or spiritual conversion. It also pertains to the achievement of a complete change of heart.
Gaylon advised the churchgoers to let go of the old ideas and experiences so that a new opportunity will set in.
“Let us relieve our minds with thoughts - especially depressing thoughts or those that nurture unforgiveness, and hate, among others. The word metanoia was derived from the Greek words which translates to Meta (above or beyond) and Noia (reason) or Beyond Reason, Above Reason,” he said.
The priest quoted Blaise Pascal’s adage, stating that “the heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of. We know the truth not only by reason but by the heart. This means that only the heart can understand circumstances and experiences in life that are beyond reason where only the heart can understand. Change needs a new way of seeking things. There is no change in us, in our homes or our community if the way we see things are still the same.”
He added that “we should not judge first without seeing the whole picture. Let us not make a judgment about people and circumstances and situations without seeing things in a just and humane way.”
“How can we respond to things and situations if we don’t understand fully the whole situation? By empathy, or experiencing the primordial in a non-primordial experience of others, it can also help us clearly on particular circumstances,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, Catholics who attended his mass offered their candles that were blessed by the priest before being placed in front of the Nativity scene that highlights the birth of Jesus Christ in the manger.
Rendering of religious and Christmas songs by the church choir also elevated the Christmas mood.
After the mass, bibingka (baked rice cakes), ibus (kakanin that is wrapped in banana leaves), pandesal, boiled eggs, and among others are the favorite morning snacks of the attendees. Sellers usually sell their foods near the vicinity whereas coffee shops produce the famous native coffee - the best match for these morning foodies being sold outside the Church.
The morning scenery is almost the same in Catholic Churches in Bacolod City and Province of Negros Occidental.
Reverend Fr. Rene Gaylon, Parish Priest of the Our Lady of the Most Rosary Parish in Barangay Alangilan, Bacolod City, blesses the candles before their transfer in front of the Nativity scene. (Carla N. Cañet)
Another batch of bibingka being prepared using the old oven, firewood, and dried coconut shells. (Carla N. Cañet)
The hot bibingka remains as the go-to snack during Misa de Gallo. (Carla N. Cañet)
WARMTH. Candles lit in front of the Nativity scene. (Carla N. Cañet)
Reverend Fr. Rene Gaylon greets the churchgoers after the mass. (Carla N. Cañet) Photo 5: Another batch of bibingka being prepared using the old oven, firewood, and dried
December 20, 2022
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