By Daniel Infante Tuaño
BARCELONA – Hundreds of Filipino faithful flocked to the Filipino Personal Parish Inmaculada Concepción y San Lorenzo Ruiz, or popularly known in Barcelona as Iglesia de San Agustin, to attend the first Simbang Gabi mass held in the evening of December 15.
There may be no puto bumbong and bibingka, but the 25,000-strong Filipino community has been carrying the Misa de Gallo tradition in the Catalan capital for more than two decades.
“Itong Simbang Gabi ay tradisyon na sa ating mga Pilipino at may malalim na itong ipinunla sa ating pananampalataya bilang mga Pilipino,” said Parish priest Fr. Tony Laureta.
Despite long work hours and complicated schedules, Filipino migrants find time to go to church or even spend their rest time attending the mass.
“Basta hindi kumplikado, pilit kong binubuo, kasi pag may trabaho ako hindi ako maka-Simbang Gabi,” said Barcelona resident Ellen Capus.
“Kung wala kang trabaho, why not come? I-celebrate mo ang pagpunta sa church, ‘yan ay once lang sa araw-araw nating pamumuhay ang ipakilala natin ang ating pagmamahal, ang ating pag-adore sa Panginoon,” added Urds Rioferio Ico.
Fr. Laureta also observed that most churchgoers complete the nine-day mass, which is considered a feat for Filipinos back home.
One reason, he explained, is the ‘worker-friendly’ schedule of the mass that starts at 8:30 p.m. when most Filipinos already finish work, so some of them will pass by the church before going home.
The church has also served as a refuge for migrants who miss their loved ones especially during the Christmas season.
“Wala naman mapupuntahan ang mga tao lalo’t higit sa kanilang pangungulila sa Pasko kundi ang simbahan,” he said.
“Isang aspeto pa siguro na every Sunday na nagsisimba sa iba’t ibang parokya, mga Spanish community, wala naman silang Simbang Gabi kayo halos sila ay pumupunta rito sa ating parokya,” he added.
Simbang Gabi is one of the legacies of Spanish colonization but in Spain, Misa de Gallo is celebrated only once — on Christmas Eve. ABS-CBNnews.com