UPDATE: Due to the risk of inclement weather on the originally planned date of Sunday, Dec. 8, this event has been rescheduled to take place on Thursday, Dec. 12.
In the spirit of the Advent season, St. Paul’s will be hosting its annual Luminaria Celebration on Thursday, Dec. 12, starting at 6:00 p.m. The entire campus will be filled with up to 2,000 candlelit bags, shining forth with the prayer intentions of students and faculty alike. The Student Council, Lasallian Youth Leaders, and the Mothers Club are the main organizers of the event, and every student on campus participates by helping to prepare the bags.
“I really appreciate the Luminarias because it gives the Student Council an opportunity to give the community a message by way of our ‘big word,’” Student Council President David Conroy said.
The “big word” refers to is the word, often in Latin, that is spelled out in the home side section of Hunter Stadium’s grandstand. A word is chosen each year in the hopes of leaving visitors with an Advent message, a word that one can reflect on internally during this time of the year. Each year’s word is not announced until the candles are lit to reveal it. Conroy added that this is one of the more difficult tasks to accomplish in preparing for the event.
“The hardest part, by far, is picking out the word. We want to make it just right,” Conroy said.
Last year’s word “Spero” is a Latin word meaning “hope.” Words in the past have included “love,” “honor,” “paix” (Latin for peace), and “serve.”
The Christian Brothers, who operate St. Paul’s, brought the original idea of the luminarias all the way from Santa Fe, N.M. The annual campus celebration was originally done for the SPS boarders before they went home for the Christmas holidays.
Conroy also encourages all those who have never been to a Luminaria Celebration to come and experience what he says is “hard to put into words.”
“Seeing the school lit up by candles is a strange, but cool, sight. Kind of Hogwartsy,” Conroy said.
The celebration is due to start around 6:00 p.m. with caroling in Founders Circle. Following that will be a short prayer service in the chapel, led by the Lasallian Youth Leaders and the Liturgical Band, with refreshments in the cafeteria to follow with entertainment provided by the SPS Jazz Band. Those only wishing to see the light display are asked to drive slowly and carefully through campus with headlights off. The school invites the entire community to come out and be a part of this magical Christmas tradition.