A shining star for Filipinos

By 
  • December 22, 2010
St. Augustine CathedralTORONTO - Christmas stars, known as Filipino Christmas lanterns, adorn Our Lady of the Assumption Church this Advent season.

Our Lady of Assumption, the archdiocese’s Filipino Catholic Mission, is home to about 7,000 Filipino Catholic families.


The parish’s pastor, Fr. Ben Ebcas, said the stars, also known as “parols” in Tagalog, the Philippine national language, are typical decorations in Filipino homes.

“They are reminding us of the coming of Jesus. The star of Bethlehem leads us and points us to our Lord Jesus,” Ebcas said. “(The star) reminds us of what Christmas is about.”

It is also a Filipino tradition to celebrate evening Christmas Mass or “Simbang gabi,” on Dec. 24.

This year, Masses in the Filipino language will be held at six Toronto parishes with large Filipino congregations such as at Our Lady of the Assumption, Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Mississauga, St. Paschal Baylon and Immaculate Heart of Mary and St. Bartholomew’s parishes in Scarborough.

“Misa de Gallo” or the “Dawn Mass” is another Filipino tradition which is usually celebrated in the early morning. In the archdiocese of Toronto, it will be celebrated at 5:30 p.m. at St. Mary de Leuca Chapel in Markham, north of Toronto.

After Christmas Mass, parishioners will gather to share in Filipino delicacies which are part of the celebration, Ebcas said.

To reach Our Lady of the Assumption parish, call (416) 787-4548.

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