Diocesan News

Third Annual Lessons, Carols Service At St. Gregory the Great Seminary

SEWARD (SNR) - Immaculate Conception Chapel at St. Gregory the Great Seminary will again be filled with the ancient prophecies and songs of Advent during the third annual "Lessons and Carols" Sunday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. The general public is invited and encouraged to attend.

The Lessons and Carols this year will be structured around the seven antiphons – called the "O Antiphons" – which describe the coming Messiah. They are familiar to most people because they are found in the verses of the traditional Advent hymn, "O Come, O Come Emmanuel."

Father Jeffrey Eickhoff, the choir (or schola) director said, "These seven antiphons have been used for centuries and will be chanted in their original Latin. But they will also be matched with readings from Scripture and followed by traditional carols which echo their themes.

"I think it will make for both a meditative and festive celebration preparing for the coming of Our Lord at Christmas," he said.

While the selections are mainly vocal pieces sung a cappella (without instrumental accompaniment), the organ will accompany a few of the pieces. Father Eickhoff said the beautiful acoustics of the seminary chapel, "along with an abundance of candles and a dark December evening create an ideal setting for prayer and reflection on the mystery of Christ coming into the world during this holy season."

The service will be followed by light refreshments, providing an opportunity for everyone to join in the joy and fellowship of the season.

The tradition of the Advent Lessons and Carols service comes from King’s College in Cambridge, England, where each year on both the First Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve the entire college gathers for a solemn evening of prayerful reflection, song, and fellowship. The tradition was brought to St. Gregory the Great Seminary by Father Peter Mitchell, the former dean of men and schola director.

Jonathan Inman, a fourth-year seminarian from Rockford, Ill., and member of the schola, said that he has enjoyed being a part of this event all three years.

"The seasonal music and readings put me in the spirit of the beautiful season of Advent and prepare me for the coming of Christmas," he said.

St. Gregory the Great Seminary is located on Highway 15, three miles north of Interstate 80 and two miles south of the town of Seward. For more information, please contact the seminary at 402-643-4052.

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