(COVINGTON, La.) — Tradition is a word with a special meaning at St. Paul’s, and it is no more apparent than during the Advent Luminarias celebration. The annual night of lights will begin on Thursday, Dec 10, 2016, at 5:45 p.m. in Founders’ Circle.
Over 40 years ago, the tradition was brought from Santa Fe with the purpose of celebrating the night before the boarding students went home for Christmas break.
“It began while Brother David Sinitiere was principal around 1977,” Brother Jeffrey Calligan, FSC, said. “The lights were to light the (way for the) Virgin and Joseph as they made their way to the manger where the new-born savior was (to be born). It was the Key Club, as I remember it, that began this custom.”
The event is identified by the bags of candles that light from the arched entrance of campus to the end of Founders’ Circle, through the walkways of campus, and around the pond. Each bag has a prayer intention on the bottom, written by students during a Pack Time session. Pack Time sessions are held throughout the year as way for students of different grade levels to interact and bond through team-building activities.
“Of all the things Student Council is part of, this is probably what I’m most proud of,” Student Council moderator Joanna Case said of the event now organized by Student Council each year. “That is because we are continuing a tradition brought to us from the Christian Brothers from their time in Santa Fe, and we help our community celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.”
A favorite feature of the event is the word spelled out in the candle-filled bags in the stands of Hunter Stadium. Past words have included Peace, Logos, and Gracia. This began roughly two years after the first celebration of Luminarias. The year’s word, however, has remained shrouded in mystery, as it does every year until illuminated for the celebration.
The event kicks off with caroling in Founders’ Circle, led by the St. Paul’s Men’s Choir. The Student Council Executive Board and Liturgical Band members will then lead a prayer service in Our Lady of Peace Chapel. Following the prayer service, refreshments will be served in the cafeteria by the Mother’s Club, with entertainment by the St. Paul’s Jazz Band.
For images and videos from last year’s celebration, click here.