November 29, 2022
Christmas tree in front of McMahon

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Catholic University, with the return of many favorite festivities to celebrate faith and community. Through the Office of Campus Activities (OCA), the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Residence Life, and many other campus offices and organizations, there will be many ways to share in the spirit of the season before the holiday break.

The Rome School will hold their annual Christmas Concert on Dec. 2 for the first time since 2019. The performance will be held in the Upper Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and will feature a full orchestra and choir of around 80 University students performing a medley of holiday favorites, classical compositions, and sing-alongs. It is traditionally the single largest public event for the Rome School and will be broadcast by EWTN.

Catholic University musical theater instructor and choir director Bryan Lilley, B.M. 2006, will be conducting the concert for the first time.

“I used to sing in the choir at (Catholic University) as a student, and I have been teaching here for 10 years. I have built up a list of songs I would choose to perform for this event,” said Lilley. He called the opportunity “hyper-motivating” and aims to make the experience approachable yet prayerful.

Immediately before the Christmas Concert, OCA will host the annual “Light the Season” event, where students and faculty will gather in front of McMahon Hall to watch Dr. Peter Kilpatrick light up the Christmas tree for the first time as University President. The event will feature performances from various a cappella groups, Christmas carols, and keepsake ornament gifts for attendees.

Steve Kreider, director of the OCA, said the event is especially meaningful for the Catholic University community as “Christmas is an incredible part of faith, and lighting the tree is a symbol of that.” He also said that keepsake ornaments are a cherished tradition for those who attend Light the Season.

Next Monday, Dec. 5, University Advancement and Student Philanthropy Council (SPC), will be hosting the second annual Deck the Trees event  from noon to 3 p.m. in Murphy's lounge. All four undergraduate classes will go head-to-head in a Christmas tree decorating contest. The class that recruits the most students to decorate ornaments will win a Finals Week study break treat for the entire class. There will also be a tree for faculty and staff to decorate. 

Residence Life will host its annual holiday event called “Village of Lights” on Dec. 10, where the campus community can gather to see Centennial Village covered in beautiful Christmas lights. The festive atmosphere under the glittering lights will also feature food and activities.

“Village of Lights is intended to bring the students of (Catholic University) together to celebrate not only the Lord's coming, but also to celebrate the wonderful community here!” said Emily Whalen, a Residence Life community director who helped plan the festivities.

Maisy Sullivan, senior, Communications Intern