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Beloved Service Inspires Hundreds 12/9/2015

“It was like experiencing a slice of heaven – the beauty of the surroundings and the angelic singing. I’ve never experienced anything like it,” said Benson Lotiang’a who began studying at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary this year.  Born and raised in Kenya, Africa, Benson was unfamiliar with this particular Advent tradition, but thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Seminary Schola, which along with the Athenaeum Chorale, sang during the service. “It touched my heart.”  

The idea of a service of scripture lessons and carols dates back to 1880.  The history of holding Advent Lessons and Carols at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary dates back to 1976 when the seminary was located in Norwood. The Advent service has always been held on the Vigil of the Immaculate Conception, the patronal feast of the seminary.

“My wife and I have come many times over the years and tonight was an exceptional experience. The students were at their best,” said Jim DiCello whose brother Anthony DiCello has served as director of music at the Athenaeum for 32 years. “This night is always so inspiring.”

“This was my first experience and I loved it!” said 18-year-old Thomas Wiley. “My mother (Mary) sang with the Chorale; I wanted to come mostly to hear her. I wasn’t expecting the readings, but I liked the combination of music and scripture and thought it was very moving. And I enjoyed the way all the people attending were able to participate.”

Patty and Danny Sprouse (Centerville) attended the Bishop Fenwick Society (BFS) Reception, held prior to the service. The reception provides an opportunity to show appreciation to those who financially support the mission of the Athenaeum on an annual basis through the BFS.

“Everything was lovely – the reception, the music, the beautiful way the Chapel was decorated,” Patty noted. “What an inspiring way to start the Christmas season.”

Click the following link to view photos from the 2015 Lessons & Carols

Photos by Susan Declercq and E.L. Hubbard

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