To mark its 70th anniversary, St Michael’s will be holding their Festival of Lessons and Carols in St Thomas’ Church for the first time this year. It will be held on Thursday, 12th December at 16:30 and all are welcome.
St Thomas’ Catholic Church was initially established in 1842 and dedicated to St Thomas in honour of Bishop Thomas Griffiths who first opened it for worship. From 1880 to 1999 this church was faithfully served by French Missionary oblates of Mary Immaculate. Its founder is considered father Donat Michaux O.M.I who raised the money for and directed the building of the church. Since this time the church has been adapted for the new liturgy in 1984 and was more recently restored in 2006-2007 under the direction of the Catholic Dean in Jersey, Monsignor Nicholas France.
The church is proud of its congregation of many nations and diverse backgrounds. It is a great honour that our school will be able to sing at St Thomas’, especially at a church that has such a profound and long history on the island.
At St Michael’s we believe that Christmas isn’t the same without songs and music. Our carol service aims to bring the whole school and community together in a prestigious setting, reminding both students and staff of the importance of Christmas and how we can play our part to help those less fortunate.
We know that a well-rounded education needs to include lessons on Christianity and religion, and its contribution to who we are today. As well as this, the Christmas story teaches us key morals surrounding kindness, new life and hope that are essential not only at this time of year but also for personal growth all year round. Just as songs used to bring people together many hundreds of years ago, singing carols at Christmas is still a popular activity to bring families and friends together over Christmas time.
Our service will begin with the traditional opening carol: ‘Once in Royal David’s City’, with the solo first verse being sung by a chorister. The traditional nine lessons and carols are associated with King’s College, Cambridge. The composer and organist John Stainer introduced carols into the service of choral evensong in St Paul’s Cathedral, however, the first formal ‘Nine Lessons and Carols’ service was conducted by the Bishop of Truro in 1880 and was attended by 400 people.
As well as attending a Carol Service at St Thomas’ we will also be celebrating Christmas by sending out an ‘electronic’ Christmas card this year. Using artwork created by a pupil, a carol sung by the chamber choir, this card will send on our warmest wishes to all recipients for the holidays and the New Year. Our digital card is being sent out to further our commitment to supporting the environment and cutting down our paper usage in the school. A recent article stated that there are an estimated 2 billion cards sent out every year at Christmas, leading to an average of 500,000+ trees being chopped down annually to cover these cards.
All of us here at St Michael’s want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We are looking forward to welcoming you to our service in St Thomas’, and for you to join in with our congregational singing in a beautiful setting, with wonderful acoustics.