The large Filipino migrant community in Israel preserves the traditions of the homeland in their country of residence and among these traditions is also the celebration of the Simbang Gabi. Father Matthew Coutinho, chaplain of the Jerusalem Good Shepherd and Rehovot Saint Therese communities reports:

simbang gabi 2017

The traditional novena of masses in preparation for Christmas that is celebrated at dawn in the Philippines has been duly transported by the migrant population to Israel. Since it is not possible to celebrate the masses at dawn they have been scheduled for late in the evening when many can take a small break from their work in order to participate in the masses.

In Jerusalem they are animated by the two Filipino communities - San Lorenzo Ruiz Community (SLRC) at Ratisbonne, and the Good Shepherd Filipino Catholic Community (GSFCC) at Agron.

This year the celebrations began on 15 December with the eucharistic celebration at the Ratisbonne Church animated by the SLRC and was attended by about 120 people. The celebrant for the mass was Father James Oclarit CP. After the solemn eucharist there was time for sharing and greeting one another as some delicious snacks were served.

May the Lord bless all the migrants who come to the Holy Land to work and to witness to their faith.