Archbishop’s Midnight Mass celebrated early
By Myrna Bermudo
Archbishop Rolando J. Tirona, OCD,DD celebrated Midnight Mass earlier than usual at the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral on December 24, 2020 at 9:00 in the evening.
In the Christmas liturgical schedule released by the Office of the Archbishop, it was revealed that the December 24 midnight mass - which for years has been celebrated at 10:00 in the evening - was celebrated one hour earlier at 9:00 pm this year.
The Church celebrates Christmas mass at midnight to honor the hour that the Saviour came into the world. The darkness of midnight also symbolises the humanity’s condition of spiritual darkness as the world await the radiant birth of the promised Messiah.
Archbishop Tirona’s Christmas liturgical schedule in time of Covid -19 pandemic revealed that after leading the first Misa de Gallo mass at the Cathedral on December 16, he went to visit sixteen (16) Churches in the Archdiocese of Caceres to celebrate Misa de Aguinaldo.
Misa de Aguinaldo is the ‘novena mass’ or nine-day masses from December 16-December 24 in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is celebrated very early in the morning or before day break thus it is called Misa de Gallo.
An image of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ with Mary and Joseph displayed at the Quadricentennial Arch in front of the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral. A sublime reminder of the reason for the Christmas season amid pandemic. (Naga Cathedral)
Following health protocols by wearing face shield and face mask, the Archbishop Rolando J. Tirona, OCD, DD of Caceres led the early morning masses or Misa de Gallo and Simbang Gabi or evening anticipated Aguinaldo masses in various Churches, travelling from one parish to another, far or near.
This was the Christmas liturgical schedule of Archbishop Tirona amid pandemic: On December 15, 2020 8:00 pm mass at the Parish of San Francisco, Naga City; December 16, 2020 at 4:30 am Naga Metropolitan Cathedral after which the Archbishop traveled to and rested in Presentacion. December 17 mass at four in the morning at the Parish of St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Presentacion; at Bikal, Caramoan, mass at 5:00 pm.
December 18, 4:00 am Misa de Gallo at the Parish of St. Michael the Archangel, Caramoan; traveled back to Naga for Aguinaldo mass at the Parish of Sta. Teresa of Calcutta in Dugcal, Camaligan at 6:00 pm. December 19 Misa de Gallo at the Parish of St. Bartholomew in Baao at 4am then Simbang Gabi mass at the Parish of St. Raphael the Archangel, Pili, Camarines Sur at 9:00 pm.
December 20, 4:30 am mass at the Peñafrancia Basilica of Our Lady of Peñafrancia in Naga City then Simbang Gabi mass at the Parish of St. Anthony de Padua in Iriga City at 8:00 pm.
Archbishop Tirona was in Calabanga on December 21 to celebrate 4:00 am Misa de Gallo at the Parish of Our Lady of La Porteria, then, at six in the evening, Simbang Gabi at the Santa Rafaela Maria School of Naga, Sabang, Naga City.
At four in the morning of December 22, the Archbishop celebrated early morning mass at the Parish St. Vincent Ferrer, Sibaguan, Sagñay. On the same day, at eight in the evening, Aguinaldo Mass was celebrated by the Archbishop at the Parish of Immaculate Concepcion in Naga City at 8:00 pm.
On December 23, celebrated mass at 4:00 am at the Parish of Santa Teresa of Avila in San Vicente, Baao and at 8:00 pm Simbang Gabi Mass at the Parish of St. Jude the Thaddeus at Concepcion Grande, Naga City. December 24, Misa de Gallo at 4:00 am at the Parish of St. Peter Baptist at Moriones, Ocampo, Camarines Sur.
“Kahit saan ako pumunta, sa malayong parokya sa Caramoan, Partido Churches, sa Rinconada Area at maging sa urban areas sa loob at malapit sa lungsod, punong-puno ang mga simbahan. Uhaw na uhaw ang mga tao sa Eukaristiya o Banal na Misa. Sa panahon na ito ng pandemia, nais ng mga tao na mahawakan ang Diyos.” Archbishop Tirona shared this observation to the early morning church goers at Sibaguan, Sagñay during Misa de Gallo on December 23.
On December 25, Archbishop celebrated the Eucharist at the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral for the Christmas Midnight Mass. Following health protocols, kissing or touching of images is still prohibited. Thus, the traditional kissing of the image of the infant Jesus after Christmas midnight mass and all in all masses for this season.
In his Christmas video message posted in the social media account of the Archdiocese of Caceres, Bishop Tirona reflects: “Christmas allows us to reflect on how God has remained faithful to His promise that He will send a Savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man to reveal God’s immense love to all humanity. In this holy season of Christmas, we are all called to proclaim the good news that through Jesus Christ, we now have an intimate relationship with God, Our Father. In this present situation that we are experiencing, this pandemic due to Covid-19 and the recent destructive typhoons, let us be strong and let us strengthen our faith. Christ is with us today and in the days and years to come. May we experience the deep joy of Christmas in our family and in our Christian communities. Authentic happiness will also reign in our hearts especially when we love and help the poor, the sick and those in need. Through them and in them, we will see and experience the presence of Christ, our Lord.”