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St. Bernadette students usher in Christmas in song

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Hark, angels are singing.  The mountains are alive with the message of Jesus’ birth.

Kindergarteners through eighth-graders rang in the Christmas season with a pageant at St. Bernadette School in Springfield Dec. 13.

“The annual pageant is a treasured part of preparation for Christmas at St. Bernadette,” said Mary Halick, middle school music teacher. “Every year, families look forward to hearing the kindergartens sing ‘Away in a Manger’ and many students still remember the simple hand motions they learned when they were in kindergarten.”

Principal Barbara Dalmut introduced the program. "We are so privileged to celebrate the event that completely changed the course of history," she said. "We will do everything we can to keep Jesus in the middle of Christmas."

The entire church began with a rendition of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” Kindergarteners sang “Away in a Manger.” Singing about the “little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay,” students placed their hands like a pillow on their cheek.

First- and second-graders sang “Go Tell It on the Mountain” while raising their hands above their heads, making the shape of a triangle mountain. They cupped their mouths as megaphones to tell it on the mountain.

Sixth- through eighth-graders sang “Glory (Let there be Peace),” a contemporary song by Matt Maher; and fourth- and fifth-graders sang the medley “Silent Night” and “Night of Silence.”

Third-graders retold the Christmas story, taking turns narrating as others wore costumes and moved around the church. A tiny manger was placed on the altar to signify where Jesus was born after Mary and Joseph walked down the church aisle. They were attended to by angels, students dressed as animals and three magi brought up gifts. Their part ended with the song “Joy to the World.”

“The third-graders are so excited they sometimes ask their teachers what part they will get to play in September,” said Halick.

Students turned around to face their parents who sat in the back half of the church while they sang "We Wish you a Merry Christmas" and "Feliz Navidad."

“We hope the students learn how important and fun it is to come together as a community to share and celebrate,” said Halick. “Our goal is to have all students participate while focusing on the reason for the season. God is the reason we sing. God gave us each unique voices, and each voice is important to him.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018