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A holly, jolly Country Christmas in Arlington

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It was a Christmas extravaganza. Santa Claus was in the gym, greeting eager visitors with candy canes. Volunteers offered hot cocoa and sugar cookies. Food trucks sold burgers and tacos. Children made Christmas crafts. Families took rides in a horse-drawn carriage as the bell choir played carols heard from across the parking lot.

Around 600 people attended Country Christmas at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington Dec. 5. Father Patrick L. Posey, rector, believes the event is a good way for the parish and school community to gather as a family. He first started the gathering while pastor of St. James Church in Falls Church and brought it with him to the cathedral. “We have six different Masses and (the parishioners) don’t see each other a lot. Or they come to the school and attend other parishes. It’s a nice opportunity to bring the parish community and the school community together,” he said.

 

 

His favorite part is listening to Bishop O’Connell High School instrumentalists perform Christmas carols. “It’s live and plenty of people will stop and listen and make requests,” he said. “Some of our former students are band members, so it’s a nice way for them to give back to the (Cathedral) school.”

The celebration was also a good chance to do a little Christmas shopping. In the school library, kids perused inexpensive gifts for their family members, such as an “I love my mom” mug or slime for their little brother. Parents bid on baskets and bought Christmas cards from the Knights of Columbus. School parent Jill Fahey created a gingerbread cathedral. Proceeds of the raffle to win the edible creation went to the Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem.

Members of the Parent-Teacher Organization and the parish worked together for two months to make the merry evening a success, said Tara Quaadman, rector assistant. Her favorite part was seeing children interact with the goats, bunnies and the camel at the petting zoo. “You could just see the joy on their faces,” she said. “You can't get better than this — this is wholesome Christmas at its best.”

Sally Neigssi, 8, and Abigail Urick, 7, shop for friends and family during Country Christmas at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington Dec. 5. ZOEY MARAIST  |  CATHOLIC HERALD

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Parishioners Jennifer and Gilbert Dickey brought their 5-week-old son, Leo, to Country Christmas to meet Santa. He slept peacefully in jolly old St. Nick’s arms. “I love Christmas and I wanted Leo to have a good first Christmas,” said Jennifer. 

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019

@ZoeyMaraistACH