Happy New Year! Forgive me for not writing lately, but December was filled with so much activity here at Holy Family Residence I barely had time to sit at my desk to write. But please know even when you do not hear from us, you are always in the thoughts and prayers of the Little Sisters and Residents.
Now that I am back online, let me get you up to speed with all of the activity taking place in our home. Following our roast beef dinner in October, the month of November started and ended in the blink of an eye. And once November ends, the hustle and bustle of preparing for Christmas begins. While that can be quite a daunting task, thankfully, we have plenty of volunteers and friends to help us make our home look so lovely and the Little Sisters to help prepare us spiritually.
We started off the holiday season with our annual St. Nicholas Party on December 9. This party, which teaches the young and young at heart about the religious origin of Santa Claus, seems to get bigger and better each year – and 2012 was no exception. An afternoon filled with the laughter of our Residents’ grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well as our employees’ children and grandchildren, this event began the holiday season perfectly. Resident Kay Gallagher once again captured the hearts of the children in attendance this year as she read the story of St. Nicholas. As the children listened, they learned many things about this saint, and they were even happier when St. Nicholas arrived! Portrayed by Father E. Francis Kelly, chaplain of Holy Family Residence, St. Nicholas visited the children, had photos with them, and gave each of them a present.
Next on our list of holiday festivities, neighboring Marywood University’s Wind Ensemble entertained our Residents and their families and friends with a beautiful Christmas concert. Our auditorium was filled with the echoes of brass and woodwind instruments as they united in song with the sounds of traditional and religious music. It really is quite a moving experience, and we are grateful to our friends at Marywood for providing us with this gift each December.
No Christmas in Scranton would be complete without taking a tour of the light displays of several neighborhoods in town. Riding throughout the streets in style via the Holy Family bus while sipping on piping hot chocolate, our Residents not only enjoyed many beautifully adorned homes, but also toured the city’s major light display at Nay Aug Park as well as the famous display at the home of Tom Culkin on Moosic Street. Mr. Culkin, who is a son of Resident Loretta Culkin, really does an outstanding job decorating his house for Christmas and has provided this annual holiday treat to city residents for over 30 years!
Now that everyone was surely feeling the Christmas spirit, it was time to celebrate the true reason for the season – Jesus’ love! And what better way to do that than to share that love with family and friends. Beginning at 4 p.m. on December 15, our Residents and their families participated in Lessons and Carols recounting the birth of Jesus followed by a lovely dinner and live entertainment by Greg Palmer. And at 2:30 p.m. on December 20, our Residents and staff continued the celebration at Holy Family Residence’s annual Resident-employee party where Residents received gifts from their secret Santa employee. Complete with homemade Christmas cookies courtesy of our kitchen staff as well as music, this annual tradition was capped off with a visit from Santa Claus. While the actual Santa could not break away from the North Pole that day, he found a good helper in Pat Walsh, a son of Resident Kay Walsh.
While celebrating the secular fun of the season was a joy, nothing can compare to the peace and love that we felt as we celebrated the Christmas Vigil and Day Masses on December 24 and 25.
Just as the Christmas Eve Mass was about to start, Kay Walsh, escorted by her son Jack, carried the final and most important piece of the nativity set, baby Jesus, down the center aisle of our chapel and gently handed it Father Kelly to place into the nativity scene. Celebrating beautiful masses on both Christmas Eve and Day, Father delivered homilies that spoke not only to our minds, but also to our hearts leaving us filled with God’s peace.
As you can tell, Christmas really was quite wonderful here at Holy Family Residence. It takes the talents and support of many people to provide our Residents with a happy holiday, and we cannot thank all of you enough for your prayerful and financial support. Together, they make all of these events possible.
Please take a moment to review our Christmas slide show by clicking here. And please be sure to check back each month for all of the latest happenings at Holy Family Residence.
Until next time,