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The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Loyola Community Celebrates Lessons and Carols

Emma Hall

Tradition has always been an important aspect of the Loyola community, especially during the holiday season. One tradition that happens during Christmas time at Loyola is Lessons and Carols. This year on Dec. 2, Loyola held their 35th annual Lessons and Carols at the Alumni Memorial Chapel on Loyola’s campus. 

The first Lessons and Carols event at Loyola took place in 1989. It is an advent service where readings from the Old Testament all the way through the birth of Jesus are read. 

Over five hundred people attended this year’s event, including alumni, current students, professors, as well as those who live in surrounding communities. Some carols they sang this year included God Rest You Merry Gentlemen, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Joy to the World, and more. 

Laura McCormack serves as Campus Ministry’s Associate Director for Liturgy and Music. This is her second year in this position. She is responsible for the weekday and Sunday masses, liturgies, and prayer services.

“One special role of mine is that I get to direct the Chapel Choir and plan and facilitate the service of Lessons and Carols each year,” McCormack said. 

The Chapel Choir consists of current Loyola students who practice from the end of September until early December preparing for the event. The carols and songs are handpicked by McCormack.

“It is usually nine lessons, and interspersed with those readings are songs and carols that reflect the theme,” McCormack said. 

One thing Lessons and Carols does is bring together the Loyola and outside community surrounding Loyola’s campus. This is important to McCormack because the Loyola community is not together during Christmas, as everyone goes home for winter break.

“For me and for many this is our chance, in advent, to gather and mark the advent season, but a time to come together and pray, to celebrate, to sing together, and celebrate that Christmas spirit,” she said.

One other event that happens in connection with Lessons and Carols is Presents for Christmas. The Center for Community, Service, and Justice has been doing Presents for Christmas alongside Lessons and Carols for over two decades. It is a campus wide donation program, where all the gifts go to Baltimore City youth. 

“I think it is a good opportunity to connect with our surrounding community especially with the monetary donations that the presents are going straight to the kids that students work with,” Maeve Walsh said, a CCSJ intern.

This year they allowed monetary donations as well as physical gift donations. All monetary donations get split up between community partners Loyola students volunteer with. These partners are The Choice Program, Govans Elementary School, Refugee Youth Project, Esperanza Center, and Nexus-Woodbourne Family Healing. 

“It is about bringing awareness to our community. Being a small school in a large city, students can feel as though they are in a bubble. Outreach and supporting our community is necessary, and that is what CCSJ and Presents for Christmas are all about,” Allison Remmell said, a CCSJ Graduate Assistant.

During this time of giving, CCSJ is taking physical donations until Monday, Dec. 11 at noon, or you can give a monetary donation on their website through Monday, Dec. 18. 

To donate, fill out this form.

Be sure to follow both Campus Ministry and CCSJ on instagram for updates on events.

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