With Thanksgiving around the corner and Christmas fast approaching, many students will succumb to the frantic vortex of holiday preparations.
The chaos of cramming for finals, searching Amazon for presents and praying for the printer to work is enough to send anyone into a tizzy.
The seminarians of Holy Trinity Seminary are giving back this Christmas by opening their doors to the community with the hope of keeping Christ at the heart of the season with an annual Advent tradition.
On Dec. 2 at 7 p.m., the Holy Trinity Schola Cantorum will be presenting “Advent Lessons and Carols,” a concert celebrating the upcoming festivities.
Guest Organist Valerie Stagaman will accompany the seminarians for the performance.
The event will be held in the Holy Trinity Seminary chapel. Admission is free, and a large audience is expected.
Dr. Gregory Hamilton, director of music at the seminary, described the history of the event.
“It will be a traditional service of Nine Lessons and Carols began in England, [which] has been developed most notably at the Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge,” Hamilton said in an email. “The service is a series of readings from Holy Scripture and music proclaiming the story of the world’s need for a savior, and God’s response in sending His Son.”
For senior seminarian Jimmy Hawkins, who is a member of the cantorum, music is a pure source of joy.
“When we really sing a piece of music well, when we are together and on key, it is a beautiful feeling,” Hawkins said. “In that moment you realize how beautiful the music is, and your heart is lightened. More than that, you realize the realities that the words actually represent.”
This time of the year, when the themes of beauty and joy must be frequently reflected upon, according to junior seminarian Albert Mottee.
“Events during the high season of the liturgical year (Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter) allow us to take time out to really reflect upon what the Church is asking us to reflect on since we are usually so caught up in our day-to-day business,” Mottee said. “So an Advent event such as ‘Lessons and Carols’ allows us to spend time in meditation on the mystery of the Incarnation and His coming in glory, and what these mean for us as disciples of Jesus Christ.”
Junior seminarian Augustin Henderson talks about the concert as a time for the community, rather than the stress and distractions that can sometimes come with the holidays.
“In a very real way, we as Catholics learn what we believe by how we pray, and our celebration of ‘Lessons and Carrols’ is not a performance but a prayer,” Henderson said. “By singing and praying with this tradition, I believe that our faith can become more intimately connected with the Catholic tradition. And so, we open our doors to the community for this event, because it is our tradition and our faith.”