The Spirit of the Season at Marist
The College Community Celebrates with Giving Tree Ceremony and Lessons & Carols Service
For the 23rd year, Campus Ministry this holiday season worked with local service organizations and the entire Marist College community to bring hundreds of gifts to children and families in need, making for a more joyous holiday for many throughout Dutchess County.
At a December 9 candlelight ceremony at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Chapel, hundreds of students, faculty, and staff gathered to give thanks and collect the sea of 821 brightly-wrapped gifts, ribbon-clad bicycles, and bow-tied giant Teddy bears.
“The Giving Tree program is a special opportunity for our students, in particular, to honor the tradition of service to others that was a core principle of the College’s Marist Brother founders,” said Brother Frank Kelly, F.M.S., director of Campus Ministry. “I know that our students feel honored to be able to help their neighbors and are enriched by the experience.”
Soon after Thanksgiving each year, trees appear across campus with paper ornaments listing the holiday wishes of children – everything from books and video games to dolls and board games – and practical needs of adults, such as dishware and children’s clothing. Members of the Marist community quickly pull the ones for wishes they’d like to fulfill and bring those gifts to the December 9 service at the chapel.
Earlier in the month, the Marist College Music Department and Campus Ministry presented their “Ecumenical Service of Lessons & Carols”, featuring the Marist College Singers, String Orchestra, and Handbell Choir. The free event attracted hundreds of people to Poughkeepsie’s historic Redeemed Christian Fellowship church for the story of Christmas told through story and song.