Archive for December 17th, 2014

Happy Birthday Pope Francis

Early this morning, I was  able to watch the TV interview of Bishop Soc Villegas. They discussed about the preparation  of the whole country specially the Catholic church for the upcoming visit of Pope Francis on January 2015.  A visit to Tacloban is included in his itinerary.  How lucky are those families who were chosen to share lunch with the Pope after the mass.  This will be the third time that a  Pope visits my university, the University of Santo Tomas.  I was in second year high school when Pope Paul VI visited UST back in 1970. Then it was twice visited by St. Pope John Paul II in 1981 and during the World Youth Day in 1995.

Going back to Bishop Soc’s interview, he related some anecdotes about Pope Francis, the humility of the man, his concern for the poor etc.  I asked one of my priest friends if there is a bio on the life of Pope Francis, he suggested that I visit St. Paul Publications. I would love to know more about him. Today he turns 78 years old.




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Tonight in some chapels and malls is the third night of Simbang Gabi (Night Mass). It’s also called Misa de Gallo. Over the years, it was simply called Simbang Gabi.  Since not all Catholics could attend the early morning mass at 4am,  they attend Anticipated Masses the night before. Even in offices, they have noon masses to keep up with this lovely tradition of celebrating novena  (nine days of masses/prayers).  It officially starts on December 16 and ends on Christmas eve. Christmas would not be Christmas without celebrating Simbang Gabi, the most festive being the Christmas Eve mass. Noche Buena  usually follows, a midnight special dinner with the family.The table is laden with  sweets, cakes, embutido (our own version of sausage), lumpiang shanghai, fried or roast chicken, hot chocolate, pancit, you name it but it usually depends on one’s budget for the season.

Finally done shopping for gifts for  the family and a few close friends. Gifts are wrapped and put on a table. We didn’t put up the  Christmas tree, for me having the Belen or Nativity set is more in keeping with the season.  It’s after all Jesus’ birth that we celebrate. Sometimes we forget the reason for the celebration. Did I say, it’s barely eight days to go before Christmas?

I searched the net for some new recipes that I could prepare on Christmas day, nothing elaborate but easy to cook meals that the family and I could share – callos, siomai, pasta, potato or macaroni salad. Josef loves gelatin so I will make a gelatin cake, the more colorful, the better. I am thinking of baking cookies this coming weekend to give to neighbors.

How do you celebrate Christmas?

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