Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Filipino Community Prepares For Christmas With Simbang Gabi

Published December 6, 2007

This month the Filipino community in the Archdiocese of Atlanta will again celebrate Simbang Gabi, a more than 400-year-old tradition that helps prepare Filipino Catholics for the coming of Christ.

Simbang Gabi, which began in the late 16th century, is widely celebrated in the Philippines as well as in Filipino communities throughout the world. The tradition is celebrated as a novena to the Blessed Mother and is meant to prepare Catholics for the approaching birth of Christ. Simbang Gabi begins on Dec. 16 with daily evening or dawn liturgies said for nine days leading up to Christmas day.

In the Archdiocese of Atlanta, the tradition will continue. Beginning at 8 p.m. on Dec. 16, the community will come together every night for nine days at St. Paul of the Cross Church, Atlanta, to honor the custom. Four of the Masses will be celebrated in the tradition’s native tongue of Filipino, while the other five Masses will be celebrated in English, allowing Filipinos and parishioners alike to participate in the popular custom.

Passionist Father Ed Deviny, pastor of St. Paul of the Cross Church, and Father Diosmar Natad, parochial vicar of St. Peter Chanel Church, Roswell, will celebrate the Masses during this year’s Simbang Gabi celebration.

Approximately 50 Filipinos attended last year’s celebration, in addition to parishioners. Elmer Cortez, a parishioner of St. Philip Benizi, Jonesboro, who is originally from the Philippines, believes the tradition is growing in the area and expects more attendees this year.


St. Paul of the Cross Church is located at 551 Harwell Road NW, Atlanta. For more information on the event, call Father Diosmar Natad at (770) 364-6702 or Elmer Cortez at (678) 910-1611.