Welcome to Sambayanihan


We are a community of Filipino American families conscious of its own socio-cultural identity, growing intellectually and spiritually together thru the reception of the sacraments rooted in the scripture and devotion especially to Mother Mary but integrated in the community life of St Mary Parish (Alpha NJ).

Sambayanihan is a composite word. SAMBA refers to the worshipping and prayerful nature of this Christian Community. SAMBAYANAN is the Filipino word for community. BAYANIHAN refers to the spirit of solidarity, cooperation and service among the members of the community.

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A Prayer for the New Year


Dear Lord,

We pray that this New Year will bring us closer to You.
May we take the time to get to know You.
Help us to truly celebrate the gifts You have graciously given us
and use them to serve You and spread Your word.

May we also see and love You in all the people we meet,
so that in turn, they can see You in us.

We know that all human relations take time
if they are to grow and deepen.
This is also true of our relations with You,
the Father and the Holy Spirit,
which must group over the course of our lives.

In this new year,
let us realize that every action of ours
no matter how great or small
enables us to be in touch with You.

Let us accept You in our lives,
in the way it pleases You,
as Truth, to be spoken,
as Life, to be lived,
as Light, to be lighted,
as Love, to be followed,
as Joy, to be given,
as Peace, to be spread about,
as Sacrifice, to be offered among our relatives,
friends, neighbors and all people.

Amen

St. Mary Parish Organizations


  • The following are just some of the different ministries in St Mary Church. Everyone is invited and encouraged to participate. Please refer to the Weekly Bulletin for contact names and additional information.

    • Altar Rosary Society
      Meets every 4th Tuesday of each month at 7PM Mass followed by meeting in the Church Hall.

    • Adult Choir
      Thursdays at 7PM in Church. New members welcome - HS age and up.

    • Footprints Ministry (Cancer Support)
      2nd Monday of each month at 7PM in the Parish Center.

    • Martha's Table
      Assist parishioners with dinners after surgery, accident, death or when dealing with a long-term illness.

    • Mary's Helpers
      A group of parishioners available to help families with refreshments after a Funeral Mass.

    • Sanctuary Guild
      Each Thursday following the 8AM Mass.

    • Meals on Wheels
      Provides home delivered meals services to people in need. Refer to Bulletin for contact name.

    • Youth Choir
      Thursdays at 6 PM in the Church Hall.

    Contact Us


    If you would like to be added to our email list, or have any questions about "Sambayanihan ni Maria", please email us at SambayanihanniMaria@gmail.com.


    Saturday, November 13, 2010

    Simbang Gabi


    SIMBANG GABI is one of the longest and most popular among the Filipino traditions in the country. It is when Catholic churches across the nation start to open their doors shortly before the break of dawn to welcome the faithful to the Simbang Gabi mass.

    Simbang Gabi or Mass at Dawn is a nine-day novena to the Blessed Mother. The novena begins December 16 as early as 4 in the morning and culminates with the “Misa de Gallo” on Christmas Eve to welcome the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. In some churches, the panuluyan is reenacted showing the effort of Joseph and Mary to find a suitable birthplace.

    ORIGIN
    Simbang Gabi traces its roots in Mexico when, in 1587, the Pope granted the petition of Fray Diego de Soria, prior of the convent of San Agustin Acolman, to hold Christmas mass outdoors because the Church could not accommodate the huge number of people attending the evening mass.

    During the old times, the pre-dawn mass is announced by the ringing of the church bells. In some rural areas, an hour before the start of Simbang Gabi, a brass band plays Christmas music all over the town. It is also believed that parish priests would go far knocking on doors to wake and gather the faithful to attend the misa de gallo. Farmers as well as fishermen wake up early to hear the Gospel before going to their work and ask for the grace of good harvest.

    SIMBANG GABI NOW AND THEN
    The changing of times does not break the preservation of celebrating Simbang Gabi although it is celebrated in new ways. Still, the tradition of Simbang Gabi continues. Part of it are the colorful lights and lanterns that fill every streets. Beautiful parols are hung in every window. Songs of the season are played everywhere to warm the hearts. Families, friends and even individuals find its way going to the nearest church to attend the nine-day novena. Shortly after the misa de gallo, families gather in their homes to celebrate Noche Buena and feasted on various delicacies like queso de bola, bibingka, puto bungbong, or a drink of salabat or hot chocolate.

    SIGNIFICANCE
    Simbang Gabi has become one of the most popular traditions in the country. But it is not just a tradition that is celebrated because we need to do so. It is a significant moment not only because it strengthens relationships among family members but also because it is the time where our faith is intensified. This is the time where we mostly feel the presence of the Lord because it is the spiritual preparation for Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ. It does not matter if one has the stamina to complete the novena or not, what really matters is what is inside the heart. The blessing does not depend on the number of mass attended, but what is important is the disposition of the person who receives the Lord’s blessing.