December 20, 2010
Fireworks flashed across the sky as alumni, family and friends
of St. John’s University joined with students, faculty and staff to
celebrate the 20th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting on the Great Lawn
of the Queens campus. Held on Tuesday, December 7, 2010, the event
served as the highlight of the University’s 20th Annual Winter
Carnival, a week-long celebration of the holiday season featuring
Christmas carolers, horse and carriage rides and live music.
Guests shared the Christmas spirit with those less fortunate by
donating new, unwrapped toys to the St. John’s Bread and Life
program. The gifts will be distributed to children throughout the
greater New York metropolitan area.
alumni and families began the evening by attending a concelebrated
Mass for the Vigil of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in St.
Thomas More Church. “We gather here tonight to celebrate this
wonderful feast of our Blessed Mother, after which we will go forth
to celebrate the lighting of the University Christmas tree, a
living symbol of God’s light breaking into our world,” noted
principal celebrant and homilist Rev. John A. Kettelberger, C.M.,
After Mass, guests moved outside to the Great Lawn, where they were
treated to a fantastic laser-light show on the façade of St.
Augustine Hall and a performance from the Voices of Victory Gospel
Choir. The festivities led up to the lighting of the University
Christmas Tree by members of Student Government, Inc., accompanied
by Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M., President, St. John’s
University. The crowd counted down and watched in awe as the tree’s
multicolored lights jolted to life, immediately followed by a
Grucci fireworks display.
Another popular part of the Winter Carnival was the Santa tent,
which allowed the children of alumni and friends of the University
to pose for pictures with Jolly Old St. Nick.
The alumni were thrilled to return to St. John’s and enjoy the
festive family environment provided by the Winter Carnival.
“You’re reminded of how beautiful this campus is when you
see it lit up like this,” said Amy Richardson ’89CBA. “Now that my
kids are a little older, I can take them to this event and they can
really appreciate it. They loved meeting Santa and I’m glad they
could enjoy this great atmosphere.”
“An event like this really gets me in the Christmas spirit,” noted
John Kinahan ’87CBA, ’04 MBA, who attended the carnival with his
wife and young son. “We’re about to meet Santa Claus, and my son is
very excited. After that, I have a feeling he’ll be ready for the
Between the fireworks, the tree lighting, the gospel choir and the
Mass, alumni appreciated the Winter Carnival’s balance between
secular and religious holiday festivities.
“There’s always a great sense of meaning to this event,” said
Nicholas Antaki ’07TCB. “The Mass and the choir remind us of why
we’re here: to celebrate the birth of Jesus. And the fireworks and
tree lighting help us spread that joy. It definitely gets you in
the Christmas spirit.”