Do you hear what I hear? Queens Village families may have asked that question last Saturday evening, Dec. 15. What they heard were the sounds of joyful carolers spreading Christmas cheer as part of Incarnation parish’s annual Christmas Carol Procession. An intergenerational mix of parishioners joined together for an evening of fellowship and spreading faith through the neighborhood streets.
Keeping Christ In the Season
“We want to keep Christ in the season,” said Father John O’Connor, pastor, who started the tradition four years ago. “This gives people an opportunity to do that.” Following 5 p.m. Mass, children arrived with parents and grandparents in the church parking lot, where Dominican Sisters Mary Neil and Martha Arnold, who reside in the parish, greeted them and distributed song booklets.
Youngsters immediately gravitated toward the petting zoo, where there were two ponies named Cinnamon and Lollipop, a sheep called Cinderella, a goat named Barbara, a bunny and some chickens. The animals, which came from Deerfield Farm in Front Royal, Va., with their handlers, enjoyed the affection and attention.
Parishioner Lucita Romulo was participating in the event for the first time with her 18-month-old grandson Giovanni, who was bundled up and eager to go. He and his parents moved near Romulo after being displaced from their Rockaway home by Hurricane Sandy.
“This is great for the children,” said Romulo, who was delighted to be with her grandson. “He loved petting the animals.”
Every child had an opportunity to pet the animals and ride the ponies around the yard before the crowd set forth in song down 207th St. escorted by police officers from the 105th Precinct.
Leading the way was the Holy Family – Lianne Persaud, a seventh grader who portrayed Mary, and Danny Jaramillo, a ninth grader who was dressed as Joseph. In keeping with the spirit of the journey to Bethlehem, Persaud rode a pony as Jaramillo walked by her side.
Winding their way through the neighborhood streets, more than 100 carolers serenaded neighbors with religious and secular hymns, led by Father O’Connor on a megaphone. On each block, the group paused to sing We Wish You a Merry Christmas, wave to onlookers and voice Christmas wishes.
Children could be seen peering from windows and some families came outside to extend their own greetings or waved to the carolers from decorated doorways.
Paule-Mary Cherubin says she participates every year because caroling not only spreads Christmas cheer to others but also helps to enhance her spirit during this season. Her voice rose above her fellow parishioners as she sang Silent Night – “my favorite hymn,” she said with a broad smile.
When they wound their way back to church, Father O’Connor illuminated and blessed the outdoor crèche and parish Christmas tree, located just outside the convent. Carolers sang O Holy Night in front of the Nativity and then enjoyed hot chocolate and star-shaped cookies in Msgr. Griffin Hall.
More pictures to come…