Like many other parishes, Christ the Redeemer has its holiday traditions that have come and gone throughout its history. Advent Lessons and Carols is one such tradition that had been done for many years with the multiple choirs, but had gone missing the last few years. In the Spanish speaking community, the Nativity Play has been an ongoing tradition complete with breathtaking sets and costumes, followed by a highly organized reception. This year, the English speaking K-6 Religious Education Program debuted their Nativity Play this Friday night.
At 7:30 PM, the sanctuary of the church was about 75% full with friends, family, and parishioners. By CTR standards this was a good turnout, especially on a Friday evening when the weather was unseasonably warmer and one might have been tempted to eat out or get in some last minute shopping.
In the wings was a large cast of angels and shepherds, sheep and cows, wise men and wise women, soldiers and villagers, and of course Mary and Joseph and eventually the baby Jesus. Cordy Galligan, a CTR parishioner, had volunteered to create the script for this diverse group of children, enabling a long held dream of the DRE, Harvesta Greene Williams, to make this production a reality.
Roles were divided amongst the grades with some of the upper grades taking on the longer speaking roles of the main characters and narrator. Interspersed between each vignette were familiar Hymns played by Diane Kingsbury, Director of Music Ministry. The audience was invited to sing along with these familiar songs which reinforced the narrative from the Angel Gabriel's visit to Mary, Joseph and Mary's journey to Bethlehem for the census, the birth of Jesus in a stable, the Good News proclaimed to shepherds in the field, and a star that brought 3 Wise Men (and Women) to come see the newborn King.
Members of the parish staff, including the relatively new pastor, Fr. Patrick Cogan, SA were in attendance and all seemed to share in the joyous atmosphere. Tomorrow morning at 10:30 AM the Spanish community will put on their play in Atonement Hall continuing their tradition.
Will there be another Christmas Pageant for the English speaking community next year? Anything can happen. But certainly the parish enjoyed this first celebration and is looking ahead to more opportunities to celebrate as a parish during the Christmas season proper. Tomorrow is with the Spanish community. Next week is the last night of Simbang Gabi (the Filipino Novena Mass) which Christ the Redeemer will host with the Most Rev. Bishop Paul S. Loverde. Stay Tuned!