St. Paul’s Prepares for 39th Annual Luminaria Celebration

Eighth grader Barry Redding cuts a luminaria for use in "Pack Time."

Eighth grader Barry Redding cuts a luminaria for use in “Pack Time.”

St. Paul’s celebrates the Christmas season Sunday, Dec. 9, at dusk with its 39th annual Luminaria celebration throughout campus.  The luminarias are set across campus, and one word is chosen to be placed on the Hunter Stadium bleachers.  The word remains unknown until the candles are lit.

“The luminarias are traditionally celebrated with the guests driving through the campus, Christmas caroling, and a prayer service,” said Student Council President Connor Mahony.

This tradition was first started in 1972 by Brother David Sinitiere, who was principal of the school at the time.  “Brother George Moore brought this beautiful tradition from the city of Santa Fe where it was done throughout the entire city.  I was excited about another opportunity for the school to interact in the community,” said Sinitiere.  Originally the Luminaria Celebration was prepared for the boarding students on the last day before the Christmas holiday. At that time, the students also placed many of the luminarias on top of buildings.  This was stopped later as a concern for safety.

“The event is organized by the Student Council, Liturgical Band, and the National Honor Society,” said Mahony.  Students each prepared luminaria bags during their Pack Time on Tuesday.  Each student wrote a prayer on the bottom of the luminaria bag so that each light represents a prayer.  These prayers will be placed throughout campus.  According to Mahony, this is the first year in which luminarias will be placed in the pond.

The celebration begins by lighting the luminarias at dusk.  The Jazz Band will put on an outdoor Christmas-themed concert at 6:30pm, followed by Christmas caroling in Founder’s Circle.  At 7:00pm, a prayer service will be held at the Our Lady of Peace Chapel.  Following the prayer service, a reception will be held in Founder’s Circle by the St. Paul’s Mother Club.

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