As requested by the Vicars Forane in their meeting with me last December 1, 2014 that Liturgical Guidelines for the Aguinaldo Masses be issued for an orderly celebration of the same, and after consultation with the members of the Board of Consultors and the Commission on Liturgy, I hereby issue the following Guidelines for the Celebration of Misa de Aguinaldo in the Archdiocese:
- The Misa de Aguinaldo in parishes must be observed in the Archdiocese because it is a great source of spiritual nourishment to our faithful. It is obligatory at dawn in consonance with the tradition. It may be celebrated in the evening but only when there is a pastoral necessity,
- Permission from the Archbishop is needed if Misa de Aguinaldo is to be celebrated in the evening. The evening mass of the Misa de Aguinaldobegins on the vespers or evening of December 15 and ends on the vespers or evening of December 23 so that the nature of a Novena or nine consecutive days shall be observed.
- From the beginning the Misa de Aguinaldo has always been celebrated at an early hour, from 4 to 5 o’clock in the morning. It is this Mass alone that is considered 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 of the Advent season. If theMisa de Aguinaldo is celebrated from 8:00 o’clock in the evening onwards, it should be motivated by genuine pastoral care for the spiritual benefit of the faithful.
- The celebration of the Misa de Aguinaldo at other times, e.g., morning, mid-day or late afternoon Mass, is not in keeping with the liturgical norms and is to be regarded as an abuse. Therefore, only the dawn and, when pastorally required, the evening Masses are considered Misa de Aguinaldo.
- When Misa de Aguinaldo is celebrated in the evening of Saturday and Sunday, one should take the liturgy of the Sunday. It should be noted that Sunday evening Mass should not anticipate the weekday Mass of the following day. White vestments are used, the Gloria is sung, and musical instruments accompany the singing during the Misa de Aguinaldo of Saturday evening, dawn of Sunday and Sunday evening.
- For the Mass formulary of the weekday Misa de Aguinaldo, the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Advent (Rorate Coeli desuper), should be used with Gloria, Advent Preface II, white vestment. TheSupplement to the Roman Sacramentary or The Roman Missal (for the use in the Diocese of the Philippines) gives us the Mass texts for the prayers and the readings. The CBCP has approved that the readings for the December 16 Misa de Aguinaldo are from the Friday of the Third Week of Advent (Is. 56:1-3,6-8and John 5:33-36).
- The ordinary place for the celebration of the Aguinaldo Masses is the parochial church. Aguinaldo Masses may also be celebrated in barangay chapels or in the chapels of Religious Congregations within the jurisdiction of the parish but with the permission of and in coordination with the parish priest.
- Misa de Aguinaldo may not be celebrated in malls or shopping centers, unless there is a chapel in the establishment, where the Holy Eucharist is celebrated with frequency and duly approved by us. We do not allow Misa de Aguinaldo to be celebrated in corridors and hallways of shopping malls where the celebration of the Holy Eucharist is needlessly exposed to shoppers that are indifferent to the celebration.
- Since the Misa de Aguinaldo is a Solemn Votive Mass in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, it is highly encouraged to honor the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Belen with solemn incensation and the singing of Marian Hymn, preferably the Alma Redemptoris Mater or Salve Regina for pastoral reason.
Moreover, to make our homilies during the Aguinaldo Masses in line with theme of the Year of the Poor and with Pope Francis’ Message of Mercy and Compassion, we are attaching herewith the Main theme and the daily themes for this year’s Aguinaldo Masses.
Finally, to inform the people what the Year of the Poor is all about during these Aguinaldo Masses, a 3-minute catechesis prepared by the Caceres Catechetical Ministry should be read after the post Communion Prayer. Copies of the 3-minute catechesis will be distributed later.
As we prepare for the celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ through the unique Filipino Catholic tradition Misa de Aguinaldo, may the faith and devotion to Mary, the Mother of God and INA of all Bikolanos, inspire us to receive in our hearts and home God’s priceless “Aguinaldo” in the person of Jesus Christ.
Given at our Chancery Office, City of Naga, Republic of the Philippines, this 11th day of December, in the year of our Lord, 2014.
+ ROLANDO J. TRIA TIRONA, O.C.D., D.D.
Archbishop of Caceres