By Sem. Kendrick Ivan B. Panganiban
December 15, 2018 | Malolos City
For this Simbang Gabi or the traditional novena in preparation for the Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord or Christmas Day on December 25, the Malolos Diocesan Commission on Liturgy (DCL) promoted ten youth saints as examples of Catholic virtue especially in celebration of the Year of the Youth in the Church in the Philippines.
Eleven Young Saints
DCL Consultant and Northern District Episcopal Vicar Msgr. Andres S. Valeraexplains that, “we chose eleven saints for the 15th of December, which becomesa usual celebration of Simbang Gabi in some barrio chapels in the parishes andnine for the succeeding days from December 16 to 23 and two for both the morning and evening Masses on December 24.” The following saints are:
December 15 – St. Dominic Savio
December 16 – Bl. Pier Giorgo Frassati
December 17 – St. Therese of the Child Jesus
December 18 – St. Maria Goretti
December 19 – St. Pedro Calungsod
December 20 – La Niña Maria
December 21 – St. Tarcisius
December 22 – St. Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio
December 23 – St. Aloysius Gonzaga
December 24 – Young St. John the Baptist(Morning)
December 24 – St. Stanislaus Kostka(Evening)
Examples of Virtue among the Youth
The St. Augustine Parish Priest and “Itanong mo kung Bakit?” Video Series hostalso explained that these saints were chosen, “because of the virtues they exemplified as young saints, which we want the youth in our Diocese to imbibe.”
This list of saints presents a variety of vocations among young people.
St. Dominic Savio, the patron saint of choirboys, falsely accused people and juvenile delinquents, was an Italian adolescent student of Saint John Bosco. He was studying to be a priest when he became ill and died at the age of 14.
Bl. Pier Giorgo Frassati, patron saint of youth groups, was an Italian Roman Catholic social activist and a member from the Third Order of Saint Dominic who joined several youth groups such as Catholic Social Action and other Church charitable organizations for the poor.
St. Therese of the Child Jesus, patron saint of missions, was a French Carmelite nun known as “the Little Flower” coming from a family of saints with his mother and father Louis and Zelie Martin canonized in 2015 and his sisters Marie, Pauline, Leonie and Celine all became nuns and are on the path to sainthood. She promoted the “little way” or the simple means of helping others as a way to become holy for God.
St. Maria Gorretti, patron saint of teenage girls, was an Italian virgin and martyr refused to submit to any sexual advance from her suitor and who forgave him despite killing her.
St. Pedro Calungsod, the patron saint of Filipino Catholic youth, migrants and catechists, was a Visayan migrant, sacristan, missionary catechist and aid toJesuit Fr. Diego Luis de San Vitores who was killed in Guam by Chamoros.
La Niña Maria is the young Virgin Mary, under the care of Sts. Anne and Joachim, her parents.
St. Tarcisius, patron saint of altar servers and first communicants, was an earlyChristian Church martyr, who according to Pope St. Damasus I, was stoned by a crowd, while carrying the Blessed Sacrament and was attacked by a group and beaten to death.
St. Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio, patron saint of persecuted Christians, was a youngMexican Cristero who was put to death by government officials because he refused to renounce his faith during a time of anti-Catholic propaganda and violence in a Catholic country.
St. Aloysius Gonzaga, patron saint of the youth and AIDS patients, was an Italian aristocrat who joined the Jesuits, giving up his nobility and inheritance to followChrist’s path. Despite being sickly, he continued in his vocation to become a priest and helped the poor and the sick.
The young St. John the Baptist is featured in light of his jumping from the womb of his mother Elizabeth during the meeting of the pregnant Mary with Jesus in her womb during the Visitation.
St. Stanislaus Kostka, patron saint of students, was a Polish Jesuit novice who despite the refusal of his brother to enter the congregation, became one of the most renowned pious Jesuit youth who helped the needy during his time.
In St. Ildephonse of Toledo Parish in Guiguinto, Bulacan, they added St. Josephine Bakhita, a Canossian nun who fought against racism and slavery inAfrica for Christmas Day, the 25th of December.
The Simbang Gabi tradition has been a practice of the Catholic Church in thePhilippines since the Spanish era. Through an indult or special permission fromthe Holy See, the Gloria could be sung on these novena Masses and the whitecolor is used over the violet color of Advent.