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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Lessons and Carols 2019: A Shining Loyola Tradition


On Friday, Dec. 6, students, faculty, alumni, and members of the Baltimore community gathered in the Alumni Memorial Chapel for the 31st annual Lessons and Carols concert. The Loyola University Maryland community has gathered every year since 1989 at the beginning of the Advent season for the Annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.

Every seat in Alumni Memorial Chapel was filled a half hour prior to the 5 p.m. commencement of the annual festival. The lighting in the chapel was dim, with a large Christmas tree lit in the center of the altar. Other Christmas decorations lit up the chapel, and people eagerly awaited this extraordinary celebration of the Christmas season that has become a tradition on Loyola’s campus. 

Kirby Povilaitis ‘22, a member of the chapel choir, described her experience with Lessons and Carols asher “favorite part of being in chapel choir. We have so much fun preparing the music, and then getting to perform it for the Loyola community is incredible.”

The event began with the chapel choir processing onto the altar, each person carrying a candle, while singing the hymn “Once in Royal David’s City,” followed by the opening prayer given by Erin O’Keefe, Director of the Center for Community Service and Justice.

The festival consisted of nine lessons and prayers, with hymns sung by the chapel choir sprinkled throughout the readings. Povilaitis described the music choices as “a good mix of traditional Christmas music and ones that are less known.” Each lesson told the story of Jesus’ birth, with multiple students and faculty members taking turns reading aloud. The community was encouraged to participate in the singing of the hymns and stand during select prayers.

After lesson VIII, given by Daniel Castillo, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of the Department of Theology, the presentation of the gifts commenced. Members of campus ministry presented various gifts donated by the Loyola community through Loyola’s annual “Presence for Christmas” project, that benefits children from Govans Elementary School. The gifts were brought forward onto the altar and placed around the beautiful Christmas tree, while the chapel choir sang “The First Nowell.” 

Following the presentation of the gifts, an appreciation was given by Sandi McFadden from Govans Elementary School. She spoke of the importance of the Christmas season and shared that “the Christmas season is a time for giving and hope.” She thanked the Loyola community for their contributions through Presence for Christmas, and emphasized that students “hold the keys to justice in the future.” She continued, “Over your four years at Loyola, volunteering and seeking justice is important. But after your four years here, it is even more important to continue to serve and seek justice through lots of volunteering.” 

After the final blessing was given, the chapel choir happily sang “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” and it seemed as if every person in the chapel was singing out loudly and beautifully. Povilaitis reflected on her  experience as “[It’s] a lot of hard work, but seeing how the music really touches people and puts everyone in a Christmas mindset makes it all worth it.” This exquisite celebration of Christmas has brought so much joy and love to the Loyola and Baltimore communities and will continue to do so for many more years.

The  31st Anniversary CD Recording will be available in the Campus Ministry office on Thursday, Dec. 12, and can be ordered either in Campus Ministry/Cohn Hall during regular business hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., or online.

Feature Image: Courtesy of Olivia Brown ’22.

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Lessons and Carols 2019: A Shining Loyola Tradition