December 16 marks the beginning of the Aguinaldo Masses or Simbang Gabi, a special tradition in the Philippines. In honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the faithful gather for mass every four o’clock in the morning, nine (9) days before Christmas. The Simbang Gabi is a symbol of the perseverance of the nation in the faith. It is also a way to fully live the spiritual preparation for Christmas Eve. To accompany its readers this Advent and Christmas season, Bayard invited Bishop Pablo Virgilio (“Ambo”) David, DD, Bishop of Caloocan and the Vice-President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), to write reflections of the Simbang Gabi gospel readings.
Gospel relates to real issues in Philippine society
Genetics, Joseph’s relationship with Mary, Youtube videos, and even the Arabic call to the mosque: Bishop David relates the gospel to concrete and actual examples making its meaning clear and appealing to all. As Christmas draws nearer, the Bishop conveys a message of hope and care for others. In reading his articles, one may simply smile at the Bishop’s sense of humor. Every reader is also encouraged to meditate about how he or she can make the Kingdom come in him and around him.
About Bishop David
Bishop Pablo Virgilio David is a known intellectual in the Philippines. When he was 15, he entered the Jesuit-run San Jose Seminary based in the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City (Metro Manila). San Jose is the same seminary that produced 3 of the Philippines cardinals, including Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle. He obtained later a doctorate in Theology from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium. On July 10, 2006, he was ordained a bishop. He served as Auxiliary Bishop of San Fernando, Pampanga, until he was assigned to Caloocan (Metro Manila). While an intellectual, Bishop David is also known for advancing the causes of the poor.