New England churches celebrate with children’s programs

St. Mary’s Catholic Church and Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church in New England celebrated the Christmas season by having Christmas Services that involved the children of their parishes.

By RACHEL BOCK
For The Herald

St. Mary’s Catholic Church and Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church in New England celebrated the Christmas season by having Christmas Services that involved the children of their parishes.

Four years ago, St. Mary’s Church started a Christmas Eve Children’s Mass, after several parents spoke to Anne Wolf, the Director of Religion Education at St. Mary’s, about the idea of having an earlier mass on Christmas Eve. The earlier mass time got the ball rolling on a beloved tradition that has changed and grown over the past couple of years.

The Children’s Mass started off the first year with a live Nativity scene, and over the past three years has grown into having more students involved in the Christmas service. The live Nativity is made up of children in grades pre-school through sixth grade, and to involve the older students a Christmas Band and Choir was formed. The Christmas Band plays Christmas music before the service starts, while the Christmas Choir sings music throughout the Mass. The living Nativity also joins the choir for a song during the service. The group of students started practicing in November, and usually practiced during their weekly religion classes, but due to weather some of the class periods were cancelled cutting the practice time short. To make up for the cancelled practice time, the band tried to fit in practices before school and on the weekends.

The Children’s Christmas Mass has grown into a wonderful tradition for the Church, as many parishioners enjoy watching the magic of Christmas through the eyes of the children.

“I receive a lot of positive feedback especially from some of the elderly people from St. Mary’s. They are just so thrilled to see the kids up there acting out the birth of Christ. Just to hear the kids singing, and just to bring it to life. I think that Christmas time and the month of December is so busy that we almost forget really what it is all about. That is really why I wanted to do it to begin with because we sometimes forget the true meaning of it all,” Wolf said.

This year St. Mary’s had students from pre-school to college students involved in the Children’s Christmas Mass.

Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church had their Children’s Christmas program during a Sunday service on Dec. 11. A tradition that has been going on for numerous years, the program varies from year to year as the children either perform a Christmas play, a Christmas Pageant, or just singing Christmas songs.

This year 24 kids from toddler age to junior high, dressed up in costumes and participated in the Children’s Christmas Program that included a reading of the Christmas Story Gospel, a living Nativity, along with the children singing six songs that corresponded with the gospel reading.

To prepare for the Christmas program, the kids started in October practicing every Sunday and also during church school time. The group also lost practice time because of the wintery weather.

“Honestly it turned out really well because we missed the last two practices before our program because of the weather, Our Redeemer’s Church School Director Nancy Belland said.

The students involved in the Our Redeemer’s Children’s Christmas program, performed another performance on Dec. 14, for the rest of the 40 plus students that were at Church School on that Wednesday.

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