Simbang Gabi is Filipino Advent tradition honoring the Blessed Mother

Parishioners Kevin Eulalia, left, Fely Eulalia and Merlinda Eulalia served Filipino delicacies after a Simbang Gabi Mass Dec. 18. Simbang Gabi is a novena of Masses honoring Mary. The tradition of Simbang Gabi traces back to the arrival of Spanish missionaries in the Philippines about 500 years ago. At the time, they had a tradition of celebrating pre-Christmas novena Masses in honor of the Annunciation.

Lily Elznic has fond childhood memories of celebrating Simbang Gabi growing up in the Philippines.

She and her family, who lived about an hour outside of Manila, would head to church for Mass in the early hours of the morning — for nine days straight.

"With all our friends in the neighborhood, we'd all go to the church," she said. "Along the way we'd watch the (Christmas) lights on the houses. After Mass, there would be a line on the street with food vendors — all of our favorite foods. Every morning it was a celebration."

Tradition St. Ann novena finds new home at St. Nicholas Parish


Bill McHugh was a child in the 1950s when he started going to the St. Ann novena — a popular summertime event at the former St. Ann Church on Page and Whittier in north St. Louis. McHugh tagged along with his family to offer their prayers to grandmother of Jesus.

"I didn't really know what a novena was," he said. "Then I became an altar boy. I served at the novena Masses. ... We probably had four or five Masses a day."

Historic Fatima statue becomes centerpiece of pilgrimage site for centenary celebration

Parishioners pass by the Our Lady of Fatima Statue at the Basilica of St. Louis, King of France (Old Cathedral) on July 8 during evening Mass.

In May 1970, Cardinal John J. Carberry led a delegation of 88 people from St. Louis on a pilgrimage to Fatima, Portugal. It was the first time an English-speaking prelate had been invited to celebrate Mass at the Fatima shrine; he did so before an estimated 500,000 pilgrims from around the world on May 13 — the 53rd anniversary of the Blessed Mother's first apparition to three Portuguese children.

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U.S. Catholics urged to pray novena ahead of election

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Knights of Columbus is urging its members and other U.S. Catholics to pray a novena from Oct. 30 to Nov. 7, the eve of Election Day.

"The Church teaches that Catholics are called to form their consciences based on Church teaching and vote in accordance with that well-formed conscience," stated Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, CEO of the international fraternal organization based in New Haven.

Time for a novena

The Discalced Caremlite Nuns invite you to join them at Carmel each night of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel novena. A Marian musical prelude begins at 6:45 p.m. Saturday, July 11-Sunday, July 19, followed by Rosary and benediction at 7:15. and Mass at 8 p.m. The Carmelite Monastery is located at 9150 Clayton Road, St. Louis, Mo. 63124.

Nine days of prayer part of Roe vs. Wade anniversary events

WASHINGTON -- For the second year in a row, the U.S. Catholic bishops are sponsoring "Nine Days for Life: Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage," planned for Jan. 18-26 this year, as part of several events marking the 41st anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion virtually on demand in the U.S.

"Since that tragic decision, more than 55 million children's lives have been lost to abortion, and many suffer that loss -- often in silence," says a posting on the website

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