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"Misa Dulom"

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"Misa Dulom"

 

Rev. Fr. Rey Villanoy

 

 

By Rev. Fr. Rey Villanoy

 

 

 

I intend once again to complete my attendance to this age old and cherished Filipino tradition of the "Misa Dulom" also known as "Misa Aguinaldo" or "Misa de Gallo", the nine days of novena masses in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary in preparation for Christmas.


This tradition dates back to the seventeenth century which was originally intended for farmers who used to go to the fields very early in the morning. Understandably, these farmers would rise from theirsleep the moment the roosters crow hence the term "Misa de Gallo". It has been said that this tradition and practice could only be found in the Philippines.


Today, Filipinos from all walks of life flock to the churches to attend and participate in this revered liturgical celebration. Impressively, the young people are also in attendance. What a blessed coincidence that last Dec. 16, the first day of these novena masses was also the National Youth Day.

 

With the establishment of the so called mission stations here all throughout the Archdiocese of Capiz, I am sure that attendance is now more convenient for our rural folks. What a relief for them not to go anymore to their parish churches (which could be far from them) in these nine mornings for right then and there nearby are mission station churches with their own mission station priests.


On a nostalgic note, I readily remembered my own childhood when on the first day of these Aguinaldo masses, I intently watched some toddlers brought along by their parents. At first they were all eager to observe what was happening only that later on, a few of them were already at the laps of their parents so as to catch up with their otherwise aborted early morning sleep. I too was with my parents especially my mother in those days of Misa de Gallo. And like those little kids, I would easily sleep on my mother's lap only that from time to time I would be awakened by the singing of the choir or the ringing of the bells.


The start of these dawn masses varies either four or four thirty but personally I prefer the earlier start so that by the time it is finished it is still dark, truly "Misa Dulom". And what more, one could still go back to sleep after the mass which I am still doing now in the same way I did a some fifty years ago during my early childhood days.

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