Friday November 15, 2019
1:49 pm

Young and old renew focus on Christmas preparation at event

Advent prep event

Jimmy McCarthy, 7, traces his hand as his mom, Mary Beth McCarthy, staples paper rings as they participate in the Queen of All Saints annual Advent Family Night on Nov. 19. The Michigan City parish hosted the Christmas preparatory event early due to scheduling issues.

(Anthony D. Alonzo photo)

 

By Anthony D. Alonzo

Northwest Indiana Catholic

 

      A popular tradition at Queen of All Saints, the Michigan City church’s Advent Family Night arrived early on the calendar, but just in time for parishioners.

      Dozens of delighted parents and excitable kids participated in the Advent preparatory event on Nov. 19. Many said it helped set the tone for the season leading up to Christmas.

      Amid the fun of wreath making and cookie crafting, QAS members said the corresponding lessons about the coming of the Christ child were welcome.

      “I think these events are very important because you actually get to experience first-hand, to get knowledge and understanding about what the season is about,” said parishioner Kathy Kelly.

      Her six-year-old daughter added: “It’s about Jesus, because it was his birthday.”

      The QAS school gymnasium was abuzz with creative activities set-up at various stations. Fourteen-year-old Audrey Drink completed weaving an advent wreath with candles. “Sweet,” she said, with her family looking on.

      Admiring ornaments made for their Christmas tree, Elizabeth Buskirk carefully toted the keepsakes made by her daughter and son – Emily, 10, and Ethan, 8, both QAS students.

      Other lessons came for the Cervantes and Henrich families in the form of a variation on the game of BINGO.

      “The Lord wants us to pray for…?” asked BINGO announcer Ruben DeAvila.

      He continued: “Advent means?”  DeAvila paused and reminded the audience that the word is derived from the Latin, “Adventus,” and in English means, “coming.”

      Mary Beth McCarthy said she was drawn to the event at the prompting of her seven-year-old son Jimmy. McCarthy, who grew up in the Episcopal Church, said her son’s interest in Mass – likely because “his friends go to church” – has also sparked her husband’s renewed interest in his Catholic faith.

      “One of the reasons I chose the Catholic Church is because my husband’s family is Catholic, and because I knew they had a good program for the kids,” she said while Jimmy traced his hands at an activity station. “The church that I went to as a kid doesn’t really have kids in the church anymore.”

      Father Kevin Huber, QAS pastor, arrived in the gym to bless the crafts assembled by the guests. He asked that they help carry the real meaning of Nativity of Christ throughout the weeks ahead.

      More than one parent said the Advent fair helps counter the “commercialization” of Christmas in stores and in advertisements where “they don’t even say the word, ‘Christmas,’ anymore.”

      QAS parishioner and six-year event coordinator Kathy Moskovich said it was heartwarming to see the faithful enjoying family time with the cookies, crafts and games. And the information imparted in the midst of the holiday fun was the ultimate goal of the church’s fair.

      “This is what we’re hoping for, that families would work together to prepare for Christmas,” Moskovich said as eighth grade volunteers helped clean up after the event. “I love working with the parishioners… and planting the seeds of faith.”

 

Advent prep event

The Cervantes and Henrich families share a table, playing Advent BINGO at the Queen of All Saints annual Advent Family Night on Nov. 19. The Michigan City parish hosted the Christmas preparatory event early due to scheduling issues. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)

 

Advent prep event

Mary Stark shows her grandsons Lyrick (left) and Liam how to weave an Advent wreath at the Queen of All Saints annual Advent Family Night on Nov. 19. The boys are in fourth and third grade, respectively, at QAS. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)

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