On Wednesday evening I celebrated a Simbang Gabi Mass with our Parishioners in our Cathedral.
There was a large crowd of Filipino Parishioners present. A number of other people from our ethnic backgrounds also joined on.
For nine days till the 23rd of December, we will meet again for the celebration of Mass.
There was much singing but also some very real prayer and celebration. This is a Filipino practice that’s hundreds of years old.
On Thursday morning I was at Holy Family Parish for 5 am mass!
It is called Misa de Gallo (Mass of the rooster) again it goes on for 9 days. The Church was full.
Both are aspects of Simbang Gabi. It is a time of prayer and reflection before Christmas.
On both occasions, I was reminded of the many different cultures which compose our rich community here in Darwin.
There is no doubt in my mind what a deep spiritual impact this devotional tradition has on these people.
Rituals and celebrations are an important part of the religious experience. We are not just a head.
Rosaries, novenas, and other devotions when celebrated in the right spirit help to nurture and deepen our Faith.
Of course, our Faith is about a loving relationship with God and all of creation.
Any two lovers need to spend time together, to celebrate special places, times and memories, romantic moments together and have other rituals of their own.
Our relationship with God is enhanced by helpful practices.
It does not take the place of commitment.
It rather helps to strengthen it.
Image credit: Dea Taneca