The Filipino community has all the reasons to rejoice after Archbishop Timothy Dolan allowed the holding of the traditional “Simbang Gabi sa Konsulado” at the Philippine Consulate in New York.
After a brief ban, Simbang Gabi, a long treasured Filipino tradition will resume this year at the Consulate’s Kalayaan Hall at 6:45 p.m during weekdays and 3:00 p.m on weekends.
Reports said that in 2012, the Archdiocese of New York required the Filipino community to observe it at cathedrals or nearby Parish churches instead of doing it inside the Philippine Consulate.
The ban came following the Catholic Cannon law in New York which stated that masses should only be held in sacred grounds.
Organizers said that “Simbang Gabi” for the Filipino Catholics was an expression of filial devotion to Mary, the mother of Christ.
Filipinos around the globe has carried out the tradition in observance of the spiritual preparation for the Yuletide season.
Filipino-American organizations then sponsored for the return of “Simbang Gabi Sa Konsulado,” the annual nine-day, pre-Christmas masses.
Relative to this, Loida Nicolas Lewis, a community leader wrote Archbishop Dolan requesting him to reconsider his decision to withdraw the Diocese provision to allow Simbang Gabi at the Consulate.
Early this year, Dolan lifted the ban saying that permission has been granted; paving the way for the Filipino community to worship in their territory consulate which, according to Monsignor Oscar Aquino, was vital to Filipinos.
Filipino community was elated over the decision of Dolan to grant back the “Simbang Gabi sa Konsulado” considering that the Philippine Consulate, the Philippine Center, was their home away from the Philippines; Mario De Leon, Philippine Consul General disclosed.
In an interview, De Leon also revealed that it was indeed a long effort. He however said that the change of tune from the Archbishop may have been the effort of Lewis.
Meanwhile Simbang gabi in the Philippines starts on December 16.
Moreover, New York based Filipinos have offered their prayers for the safety of fellow Pinoys living along the path taken by typhoon Ruby.