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Going to ‘Simbang Gabi’? Dress for Mass, not for mall


When attending Simbang Gabi in shopping complexes, long prom dresses for Mass, not for malling.

A Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Manila gave this gentle reminder to the faithful who will take part in the novena of dawn Masses not just in churches, but also in shopping malls. The nine-day Simbang Gabi starts today.

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Fr. Carmelo Arada Jr., assistant commissioner of the Commission on Liturgy, said one must still dress appropriately even when hearing Mass inside malls.

“Wear proper attire. Not sleeveless shirts, not miniskirts,” he told reporters in a recent interview.

Arada said the celebration of the Eucharist should always be done “with dignity, solemnity or devotion.”

“A Mass in the mall and in the parish should be celebrated with the same disposition,” he said.

He said no one will be barred from entering the chapel but Mass-goers are still encouraged to dress properly.

The Archdiocese of Manila has issued a dress code for Mass-goers.

Males are encouraged to wear long-sleeved polo shirts, collared shirts, or T-shirts paired with pants or jeans, while females may wear dresses, long gowns or collared blouses.

Simbang Gabi is usually held at dawn although some churches and malls hold anticipated Masses the night before.

The Simbang Gabi culminates with the “Misa de Gallo” around midnight on Christmas Eve.

Arada said malls offering Simbang Gabi should make sure it will not be “an extra feature” of commercial establishments.

“We have to instill that the Mass is not an extra feature of the commodities in a mall. There’s a tendency for commercial establishments to say, offer a sale and one extra feature is the Simbang Gabi. We would like to avoid that,” he said.

Malls wanting to offer Simbang Gabi must seek permission from the Archdiocese of Manila. One of the requirements is for a mall to prepare a dignified, solemn place for the Mass.

“The Mass is the highest form of prayer and it is very different from the other commodities that are material in nature,” Arada said.

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