Are we allowed to sing liturgical Christmas songs on Misa de Aguinaldo?


#1

Hello! This is my first post! I registered to Catholic Answers because I really needed the answer as soon as possible.

I am a member of the music ministry in my parish.

The question goes: Is the choir allowed to sing liturgical Christmas songs during Misa de Aguinaldo (or Simbang Gabi)?

Here in the Philippines, we celebrate a 9 days Msa de Aguinaldo starting December 16 until December 24 at 4 or 5 am.

Our parish priest do not allow us to sing liturgical Christmas songs for the following reasons:
-- Misa de Aguinaldo is still part of the Advent season.
-- It is not yet Christmas.

(By the way, we have new priests assigned to our parish this year. Previously, we were allowed to sing Christmas songs on Misa de Aguinaldo for 10 years.)

However, based on my research, the Philippines has a special permission from Vatican that we can celebrate our Misa de Aguinaldo in a festive way. Gloria is sung. Priests wear white vestments which are currently observed. Christmas carols can also be sung. Source: catholicchurch.ph/filer/Guidelines-on-the-Celebration-of-SIMBANG-GABI.pdf (Paragraph 3). I cannot argue yet with our parish priest because I have not found the actual document from Vatican.

Can anyone shed a light?

If you need more info please tell me. Thanks!


#2

"Advent has a two-fold character: as a season to prepare for Christmas when Christ's first coming to us is remembered; as a season when that remembrance directs our mind and heart to await Christ's second coming at the end of time." *(General Norms for the Liturgical Year and Calendar, #39) *

"Advent is distinctly a preparation for Christmas. We should help our people understand this. Christmas songs in the liturgical celebrations during Advent and Simbanggabi confuse the people about the nature of Advent.
Therefore Christmas songs are inappropriate in the liturgical celebrations of Advent and Simbang Gabi."

From: magsimba.com/Manila-2005-30-Songs-Advent-Simbanggabi.asp

Although given that the Simbang Gabi is meant to be a festive celebration which is shown through the singing of the 'Gloria' and the recitation of the Creed (?), maybe the choir could sing Advent songs such as 'Halina Jesus Halina'?


#3

[quote="yaycatholic, post:2, topic:348002"]
"Advent has a two-fold character: as a season to prepare for Christmas when Christ's first coming to us is remembered; as a season when that remembrance directs our mind and heart to await Christ's second coming at the end of time." *(General Norms for the Liturgical Year and Calendar, #39) *

"Advent is distinctly a preparation for Christmas. We should help our people understand this. Christmas songs in the liturgical celebrations during Advent and Simbanggabi confuse the people about the nature of Advent.
Therefore Christmas songs are inappropriate in the liturgical celebrations of Advent and Simbang Gabi."

From: magsimba.com/Manila-2005-30-Songs-Advent-Simbanggabi.asp

Maybe you could sing songs related to Advent like 'Halina Jesus Halina'

[/quote]

It seems the Archdiocese of Manila is putting out conflicting information. The above source, dated 2005 states as above.

The OP pointed to a source, dated 2010, which states:

[quote=]...the Simbang Gabi is celebrated with great solemnity, with the singing of the “Gloria”, in white vestments, and with Christmas carolsand festive ornamentations, in contrast with the sober character of the Advent season.

[/quote]

Both seem to be official communications from the Archdiocese of Milan regarding these celebrations.


#4

[quote="jmata, post:1, topic:348002"]
Hello! This is my first post! I registered to Catholic Answers because I really needed the answer as soon as possible.

I am a member of the music ministry in my parish.

The question goes: Is the choir allowed to sing liturgical Christmas songs during Misa de Aguinaldo (or Simbang Gabi)?

Here in the Philippines, we celebrate a 9 days Msa de Aguinaldo starting December 16 until December 24 at 4 or 5 am.

Our parish priest do not allow us to sing liturgical Christmas songs for the following reasons:
-- Misa de Aguinaldo is still part of the Advent season.
-- It is not yet Christmas.

(By the way, we have new priests assigned to our parish this year. Previously, we were allowed to sing Christmas songs on Misa de Aguinaldo for 10 years.)

However, based on my research, the Philippines has a special permission from Vatican that we can celebrate our Misa de Aguinaldo in a festive way. Gloria is sung. Priests wear white vestments which are currently observed. Christmas carols can also be sung. Source: catholicchurch.ph/filer/Guidelines-on-the-Celebration-of-SIMBANG-GABI.pdf (Paragraph 3). I cannot argue yet with our parish priest because I have not found the actual document from Vatican.

Can anyone shed a light?

If you need more info please tell me. Thanks!

[/quote]

It is not clear to me what you want to argue with your priest about. Is he forbidding you to celebrate Simbang Gabi or Misa de Aguinaldo at all, or is he just trying to stay within the guidelines that the Archdiocese of Manila has set for this celebration? I doubt any of us here on the forum can give you any better advice than that coming from your Archdiocese. Apparently, only the early Mass from 4 to 5 in the morning is considered Simbang Gabi. (See guidelines for when evening Mass is considered Simbang Gabi). "It is this Mass alone that is considered "Simbang Gabi" or Misa de Aguinaldo. Other Masses celebrated during the nine days before Christmas are celebrated as Masses of the Advent Season, and should follow the norms of the liturgy for the Advent Season..." I would think that the guidelines coming from your Archdiocese would be enough to bring to your pastor.


#5

[quote="zab, post:4, topic:348002"]
It is not clear to me what you want to argue with your priest about. Is he forbidding you to celebrate Simbang Gabi or Misa de Aguinaldo at all, or is he just trying to stay within the guidelines that the Archdiocese of Manila has set for this celebration? I doubt any of us here on the forum can give you any better advice than that coming from your Archdiocese. Apparently, only the early Mass from 4 to 5 in the morning is considered Simbang Gabi. (See guidelines for when evening Mass is considered Simbang Gabi). "It is this Mass alone that is considered "Simbang Gabi" or Misa de Aguinaldo. Other Masses celebrated during the nine days before Christmas are celebrated as Masses of the Advent Season, and should follow the norms of the liturgy for the Advent Season..." I would think that the guidelines coming from your Archdiocese would be enough to bring to your pastor.

[/quote]

I think the OP is inquiring whether the Parish's Music Ministry can sing Liturgical Christmas Songs in Simbang Gabi and not about the Priest prohibiting Simbang Gabi. In the Philippines, all of the parishes (and chapels) have Simbang Gabi!


#6

Oops. Obviously, I meant Manila.


#7

[quote="yaycatholic, post:5, topic:348002"]
I think the OP is inquiring whether the Parish's Music Ministry can sing Liturgical Christmas Songs in Simbang Gabi and not about the Priest prohibiting Simbang Gabi. In the Philippines, all of the parishes (and chapels) have Simbang Gabi!

[/quote]

We have Simbang Gabi celebrated in our parish in the United States, too, for about 20 plus years now. What I was really questioning was whether or not the Mass or Masses that the OP was discussing with the pastor were actually considered Simbang Gabi or whether they were Masses that should follow the Advent Season. Not all Masses celebrated in the nine days before Christmas are Simbang Gabi. The Archdiocese of Manila issued guidelines posted by the OP stating when the celebration is to be observed.


#8

[quote="zab, post:7, topic:348002"]
We have Simbang Gabi celebrated in our parish in the United States, too, for about 20 plus years now. What I was really questioning was whether or not the Mass or Masses that the OP was discussing with the pastor were actually considered Simbang Gabi or whether they were Masses that should follow the Advent Season. Not all Masses celebrated in the nine days before Christmas are Simbang Gabi. The Archdiocese of Manila issued guidelines posted by the OP stating when the celebration is to be observed.

[/quote]

The 9 days dawn Masses we have before Christmas was actually Simbang Gabi.

I was asking whether the singing of liturgical Christmas songs is allowed or not during those 9 days.

Thanks!


#9

[quote="jmata, post:8, topic:348002"]
The 9 days dawn Masses we have before Christmas was actually Simbang Gabi.

I was asking whether the singing of liturgical Christmas songs is allowed or not during those 9 days.

Thanks!

[/quote]

What "liturgical Christmas songs" in particular where you thinking of including?

The ones I have attended in my archdiocese have sometimes begun with a prelude during which the song "Simbang Gabi" by Lucio San Pedro is sung while the parol is processed into the church and an introduction is given. Then, for the opening hymn, "Halina Hesus" is sung. For the Offertory, I've heard "Narito Ako." For Communion, usually it's "Ang Katawan Ni Kristo," and the night almost always ends with "Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit".

If you're asking about "What Child Is This" / "The Child of the Poor," I've heard it used. Personally, I'd hold off on using "O Holy Night," "Silent Night," and all those other songs that say Jesus is born in the lyrics, as we're still in Advent. Hope this helps! :)


#10

There are many songs that fit both Christmas and Advent in the English Tradition. "Lo, how a Rose." " Of the Father's Love Begotten." "Let All Mortal Flesh keep Silence" or even select verses of certain carols work in Advent like these from "O little Town of Bethlehem." which we often use on the 4th Sunday of Advent.Though the word Christmas appears it is overpowered by the Petition in the words "O come! & Emmanuel"
How silently, how silently,
the wondrous gift is given;
so God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of his heaven.
No ear may hear his coming,
but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him, still
the dear Christ enters in.

  1. O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray; cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today. We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell; o come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel! Take a second look at your repertoire.

#11

[quote="jmata, post:8, topic:348002"]
The 9 days dawn Masses we have before Christmas was actually Simbang Gabi.

I was asking whether the singing of liturgical Christmas songs is allowed or not during those 9 days.

Thanks!

[/quote]

Thanks for the clarification. The explanation of Simbang Gabi at the beginning of the guidelines from the link that you posted explains it very well.
"De Aguinaldo mean gift, gift, which is peculiar to Christmas. That is why the faithful wake up early morning for nine days before Christmas to join in the celebration of the dawn Mass. The faithful make their "Aguinaldo" to God for the great gift of Jesus., The Savior of the world.
But for Filipino Catholics, the celebration of Simbang Gabi is above all an expression of their filial devotion to Mary, the Mother of God. For nine days they join and accompany her, so to speak, as she awaits the birth of her Son."

The only question that I have, and I'm not an expert on interpreting this, is in #3 where it states that "On March 24, 1961, Rome granted an extention of this Indult for five years." Then immediately afterward, it goes on to state that today, Simbang Gabi is celebrated everywhere in the Philippines. What happened after the five years?

I think that should be enough to show your pastor regarding the dawn Mass. But he is your pastor, so whatever he decides after you have charitably approached him with your concerns, should be accepted with humble submission, in my opinion.


#12

To the OP, don't forget the singing of the Gloria on the 4th Sunday of Advent, as well as the Misa de Aguinaldo on the 24th.

Also, found this guide online: sites.google.com/site/tagalogliturgy/mga-direktiba/on-simbang-gabi

And this video was shown at a parish I visited last night for Simbang Gabi as an introduction.
youtube.com/watch?v=ls2XV6clwHs


#13

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.