Palma: Anticipated mass will be celebrated as Misa De Gallo
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma announced on Monday night, December 7, 2020, that the Archdiocese of Cebu will adapt the mandate of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to celebrate the Misa De Aguinaldo (Misa de Gallo) on the evening prior to the scheduled dawn mass.
This is the compromise of the Catholic Church to avoid crowding of parishioners during the dawn Misa de Gallo schedules as requested by the local government units (LGUs), who will be monitoring these activities for the implementation of health quarantine protocols due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
The anticipated masses from December 15 to 23, 2020, are traditionally called Simbag Gabi and uses the liturgical reading for the advent season, with the priest or celebrant wearing violet vestiges, and the Gloria hymn not sung.
The Simbang Gabi is different from the Misa de Gallo, which is a mass celebrated at dawn for Our Lady of the Belen, wherein the priest wears white and the Gloria hymn is sung.
This year and due to the pandemic, the CBCP encouraged the Archdioceses and Dioceses to celebrate Simbang Gabi as Misa De Gallo so that more people can attend the novena masses without necessarily crowding the churches.
For Archbishop Palma, this will sit well with the faithful as the Misa de Gallo has always been a cherished tradition by Cebuanos with its festive liturgical celebration.
“The general rule as of the moment is the evening mass prior to the Aguinaldo Mass may be celebrated as an Aguinaldo Mass, meaning in memory of the Blessed Virgin Mary with white vestments and the Gloria. I think people would like that, there will be more joyful mood,” said the prelate.
However, there will be an exception to this mandate as all anticipated masses on Saturday evenings, in this case on December 19, 2020, will have to remain as an anticipated mass for the Sunday’s liturgy, which will use the advent liturgical celebration.
Aside from December 19, 2020, all evening anticipated masses will be celebrated as a Misa de Gallo.
The archbishop also reminded the parish priests that the Misa de Gallo schedules, venues, and other details must be coordinated with the local government units (LGUs).
For Cebu Province, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has not restricted the time and area for the masses, but only requested that the limited capacity, physical and social distancing, and other minimum health requirements be implemented.
In the provincial cities and towns, open spaces such as complexes can be used as a venue for the Misa de Gallo.
As for the highly urbanized cities of Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, and Cebu, the restrictions differ for each.
Generally, all highly urbanized cities want the Misa de Gallo to start at 4 a.m. and two masses may be celebrated one after the other.
This is because more people are expected to come in the cities, but the barangays and the police have limited personnel to monitor and ensure the implementation of the health protocols.
“We are coordinating with the LGUs, but it seems like they prefer we start at 4 a.m., then if you want to hold another mass you can do so,” said Palma.
The archdiocese is also negotiating with the Cebu City government since the LGU does not want the Misa de Gallo to be held in any other areas aside from the churches and bigger chapels.
“Between the parish and the LGU, many arrangements can be made specifically,” said the prelate.
The Archdiocese of Cebu encourages parishioners to coordinate with their parishes for the details of their Misa de Gallo schedules and venues.
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