The great tradition that is the Christmas Carol Service in the Cathedral Town was resoundingly endorsed on the Sunday night before Christmas.
A packed congregation prayerfully and musically, saluted the approaching feast, enhancing the rich tradition that the service has accrued with the passing years.
From the opening candlelight procession to the strains of Adeste Fideles, and the formal welcome and introduction by Anne Minihan, Chairperson of the Core Group of Parish Renewal, to the final blessing by His Grace, Archbishop Dermot Clifford, followed by the congregation and massed choirs singing Silent Night, the evening was a moving and uplifting expression of faith, and a joyful celebration of the birth of Christ.
The various streams of parish endeavour contributed to the occasion. The Folk Group sang The Christmas Story in their own inimitable way. After Reader Conor Stakelum had delivered an appropriate passage, the Dwan Theatre School’s liturgical dancing focussed on the theme - Christmas Lullaby.
Bothar na Naomh Church Choir sang Angel’s Carol, which was followed by a reflection read by Pat Bracken and Kay Skehan – We’re Different this Year.
Then came the Youth Choir’s rendering of Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee, followed by a reading by Fr. Martin Hayes.
The Gospel Choir sang “Angels was ashoutin on Christmas morn” and the Cathedral Choir, with renowned soloist Michael Molumby performed another great Christmas favourite- O Holy Night.
A special feature of the service each year has been the First Holy Communion classes’ presentation of the Nativity Story, and this year was no exception with the young players and narrators joined by all the boys and girls on the altar for the singing of ”Away in a manger”.
The various items were interspersed with congregational singing of traditional Christmas carols before His Grace gave the final blessing after which he congratulated all concerned on the wonderful musical and theatrical talent showcased during the evening.
After Fr. Martin Hayes thanked all for their efforts, the congregation and choirs, with the Cathedral light by candles, joined in a magnificent rendering of “O Holy Night”.
The 2011 Christmas Carol Service was a credit to allinvolved.
Well done – Christmas would not be the same without it.