HONG KONG (SE): Around 300 people participated in a Misa de Aguinaldo (Mass of the Gift) celebrated by Filipino chaplain, Father Jay Flandez SVD and Father Elmer Loreto SVD in the hall of the Bayanihan Centre, Kennedy Town, at 10.00pm on December 24.
Before the Mass, there was a recitation of the Rosary 9.15pm, followed by a rendition of Christmas songs by the El-Shaddai Catholic Charismatic Group starting from 9.30pm which brought a festive mood to all.
In his homily, Father Loreto observed that Christmas is about love and sacrifice. He pointed out that as God sacrificed his son for our salvation, Christmas is the season when we forget ourselves and think of others. He reminded those present that people around us are our gifts from God and that our family is also a gift so we should value them.
The Mass was organised by the Chaplaincy for Filipinos along with the Philippine Consulate General to Hong Kong.
The Misa de Aguinaldo, is traditionally celebrated in the Philippines between 10.00pm and midnight, and the parols (star shaped lanterns) are regarded as symbols beckoning people to come and adore the new-born Saviour.
Like the pre-Christmas novena, the Simbang Gabi, the Mass of the Gift is a custom brought to the Philippines from Mexico around 400 years ago by Spanish friars, but has become an integral part of any Philippine celebration.