Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Delone Catholic’s Lessons and Carols Service Closes Christmas Season with Thoughtful Reflection

Students at Delone Catholic High School returned to classes the first week of January with a continued celebration of the Christmas season, highlighted by the school’s first-ever Lessons and Carols service.

Performed by student and staff vocalists, instrumentalists and readers, the service brought to life the story of salvation history with a series of nine Christmas carols and Scripture passages painting a picture of God’s unwavering love for humanity.

The service, set in a darkened gymnasium with a candlelit Nativity scene as its focus, offered students and teachers of the McSherrystown school a time to reflect on the birth of our Savior.

“Over the course of this service, you will hear the stories of salvation history, beginning with the Fall of Adam and Eve, the promise of the Messiah from the prophets, the Annunciation and Incarnation, and the Good News of Jesus’ birth,” Katherine Phenicie, Campus Minister and Sacred Studies teacher, said in introducing the service, held on Friday, January 5.

Interspersed with Scripture reflections and music, carols were performed by the school choir, musicians, and soloists, interspersed with pre-recorded performances by alumni, the Schola from Mount St. Mary’s, and professional recordings. Carols included “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” “Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming,” “Gabriel’s Message,” “Silent Night,” and “Angels We Have Heard on High.” From the first to the last, they offered messages of peace and of love for one another.

“Because the program talked about the entirely of salvation history, it was amazing to realize how long God’s plan had been in place for our salvation. It really shows how much God loves us, in that He set all this into place to save us from our sins,” senior Maggie Murry told The Witness at the conclusion of the service.

“I thought it was a beautiful program, with the music, the lessons and the way things were set up with the candles lighting the gym. It really added to our Christmas celebration, especially since we’re not here together as students over the holiday,” she said.

Victoria Staub, who, along with Maggie, served among the readers for the program, said it offered a point of reflection after hearing the story of the Nativity year after year. “Today, I heard some new things that I hadn’t heard before – such as how the story presents the entirety of salvation history,” Victoria said.

“I think this program also highlighted that it’s important to recognize Christmas is a season and not just a day,” she added. “Many people say how everything is so wonderful leading up to Christmas, and on December 26 it ends and they’re going back to normal. I think it’s important to celebrate and reflect on the 12 days, and today’s service really helped us do that.”

At the conclusion of the Lessons and Carols service, Phenicie told the students, faculty and staff that the Christmas story cannot be just a story. “It needs to inspire our hearts; it needs to call us to participate in the ongoing story of salvation. You and I have a crucial role in continuing to bring about the Kingdom that Jesus ushered in,” she said.

(Photos by Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness.)

By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness

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