Reflection on Christmas Events 2016

23 January 2017

On Wednesday, 14 December 2016 the Chapel at St Mary’s University College was packed to overflowing for the Annual Carol Service, and many of those in attendance joined us afterwards at our first ever Christmas Market in the Student Centre.

The Carol Service is part of a rich liturgical tradition at the College. There was an opportunity to join together in a Christian celebration of joy through the reading of scripture and prayer, as well as music and song. It was enhanced enormously by the outstanding talent and dedication of our student choir, superbly led by Orla Nugent, musical director.

With a large gathering of staff, students and friends of St Mary’s on campus at the time, the College also took the opportunity after the Carol Service to recognise some of the achievements of those students who had graduated in July 2016. Awards were presented by representatives of the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO), the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI) and the Students’ Union at St Mary’s.

Afterwards, and in conjunction with the Students’ Union, the College hosted its first ever Christmas Market. The market boasted a fun-filled evening of festive activities with opportunities to sample or buy quality local foods and purchase one or two last-minute Christmas gifts. The market showcased several local social enterprises, charities and quality crafts, as well as student-led initiatives. In addition, there was plenty of festive fun for the children and the young at heart by way of a Santa’s grotto, a festive photo booth and some hands-on Christmas craft workshops.

One of the highlights of the market was the outstanding musical entertainment provided by Loch Lao CCÉ. Thirty young Irish traditional musicians entertained the market goers with various Christmas carols in an impressive, uplifting session.

All proceeds from the student-led stalls at the Christmas Market were donated to AWARE: Defeat Depression, the Simon Community and the and Suicide Awareness and Support Group.

The evening’s events provided a great opportunity for the entire College community, including our international students, to celebrate together.

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