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Lessons and Carols’ to be held at Church

Megan Loney | Thursday, December 11, 2008

The true meaning behind the Christmas Holiday is not forgotten at Saint Mary’s College. The annual Lessons and Carols service will take place in the Church of Loretto Dec. 14 at 7 p.m.

Lessons and Carols is traditionally a Christmas Eve service that originated in the Anglican Church to commemorate the season. Saint Mary’s has been hosting an adapted version of this service since 1981.

The Saint Mary’s Campus Ministry Department, the Saint Mary’s Music Department and the Liturgy Office of the Sisters of the Holy Cross have worked together to co-sponsor the event.

Approximately 500 to 550 people are expected to attend on Sunday, including students and sisters.

“The Church is full to overflowing with other community members, all of whom participate by their reverent listening and heartfelt singing of the carols of the Advent and Christmas Seasons,” said Sister Betty Smoyer, who is working to put the service together.

During Lessons and Carols, there will be Scripture readings, community carol singing, choral pieces and liturgical dancing all by the light of candles.

“The purpose of this service is to gather the Saint Mary’s College and Convent communities in an ecumenical celebration of the Advent and Christmas seasons,” Smoyer said.

Students and Sisters of the Holy Cross come together to participate in this service as readers, singers, dancers and bell ringers. About 125 students and 35 Sisters and lay Schola members are taking part in Lessons and Carols.  The Church of Loretto Schola, the Saint Mary’s College Women’s Choir, the Collegiate Choir, the Liturgical Choir, the Hand Bell Choir, the Liturgical Dancers and Members of the Scene Shop will all play a role in this annual holiday service.

Smoyer said that Lessons and Carols is an important tradition for Saint Mary’s College.

“This is a unique annual opportunity for the College and the Sisters to join in prayer and reflection on the Advent and Christmas call to belief in God’s transforming presence and action in our lives,” she said.