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Filipino Expatriates in UAE Observe Simbang Gabi, Praying for Peace

Filipino expats in the United Arab Emirates have begun the customary Simbang Gabi, a nine-day devotional series of Masses running up to Christmas.

Filipino expatriates in the UAE have commenced the traditional Simbang Gabi, a nine-day devotional series of Masses leading to Christmas. 

Amidst the celebrations, thousands have gathered at various churches, including St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Oud Metha, to partake in communal prayers and express gratitude while offering peace supplications, particularly in Gaza.

Prayers for Peace Amidst Christmas Celebrations:

Romer Mendoza, a long-time Dubai resident, echoes the sentiments of many devout Catholics, emphasizing the significance of praying for peace in Palestine during this sacred period. 

He emphasizes that the essence of Christmas, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem, contrasts starkly with the ongoing conflicts causing suffering in Palestine.

Papal Appeal for Ceasefire:

Pope Francis, leader of the Catholic Church, has recently reiterated his call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, urging an end to hostilities and the release of hostages. 

The Pope’s plea aligns with the sentiments expressed by worshippers, emphasizing the need for negotiations and urgent humanitarian help to alleviate the suffering of the people in Gaza.

Faithful Prayers for Harmony and Reconciliation:

The faithful, including Bernadette Bernabe, Evelyn Tabaque, Divina Tagle, and young Vincent John T. Apelan, offer prayers for reconciliation, harmony, and peace in Palestine. 

They embody the spirit of Christmas, calling for love, compassion, and understanding among Israeli and Palestinian communities, expressing hope for peace to prevail.

Community Gathering and Participation:

Simbang Gabi, rooted in Filipino Christmas traditions, holds immense cultural and spiritual significance for Filipino Catholics in the UAE. Despite the shift in timing from dawn to evening Mass, the tradition continues to unite worshippers in prayer and celebration.

Former St. Mary’s Church priest Fr Chito Bartolo highlights the substantial attendance of approximately 20,000 churchgoers during Simbang Gabi at St. Mary’s Church in Dubai, emphasizing the strong sense of community and devotion among Filipino expatriates.

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