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A Taste of Christmas and Big Surprises

December 19, 2021

The Filipino Catholic community presented Bishop Mark Seitz with a $10,000 donation to support seminarian education during the 19th Annual Simbang Gabi, an annual Christmas tradition. Bishop Mark had a surprise of his own.

The annual event was held at St. Patrick Cathedral on Saturday, December 18. The celebration, an Advent Liturgy in English and Filipino, opened with a traditional procession in reverence of Santo Niño. Bishop Mark J. Seitz, D.D. was the main celebrant and homilist. The Mass was concelebrated by Rev. Marcus McFadin, D.Min., Rector of the Cathedral, Rev. Anthony C. Celino, JCL, Rev. Andy de Guzman, Rev. Gleen Carpe, and Rev. Victorino Loresca.

A large Filipino choir filled the Cathedral with beautiful music. The Lord's Prayer, the "Ama Namin" was sung.

Mass was followed by a dinner and cultural celebration that included a tribute to the 500-year-history of Christianity in the Phillipines, “roll call”—Filipinos cheer when the name of their city or province is called—singing, dancing, and a raffle. 

Not only did the Filipino Catholic community have a special surprise for Bishop Mark with their contribution of $10,000 to support seminarian education, but Bishop Mark had a surprise of his own. Bishop Seitz shared that Loyd Divinagracia, a seminarian from the Phillipines studying for the Diocese of El Paso, will be ordained to the Sacred Order of the Diaconate on January 28, 2022.

Bishop Mark was visibly moved by the generosity of the Filipino people.

With traditional song, dance, and attire, Simbang Gabi fosters a spirit of faith, joy, and fellowship throughout the Diocese of El Paso.


Proceeds from the event go to the Filipino-American Endowment Fund that supports retired priests and seminarian education. Part of the Catholic Foundation’s Catholic Legacy Fund, the Filipino-American Endowment Fund establishes a legacy to the Filipino heritage and ensures gifts to support diocesan efforts in perpetuity. The idea to create a permanent fund was conceived in 2006 and established in 2007. Since that time, the fund has grown to $200,000.

Become a Friend of the Filipinos with a recurring monthly gift to the Filipino-American Endowment Fund. Leave your Filipino family legacy with a Named Fund.

Maligayang Pasko! Merry Christmas!


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