Is it Christmas yet?

In the last week, we did just what Kurt said we were going to do! Jess and Kurt rehearsed carols with Scoil Mhuire, after much practicing of the song “Little Donkey” around the house Tuesday night. I spent Tuesday rehearsing carols with Kennedy Park and getting things ready for the few first communion kids we teach on Sunday mornings. This Sunday’s lesson is the Liturgy of the Word and the structure of the Bible (in 25 minutes). I enjoyed putting it together – writing lesson plans reminded me how much I enjoyed my student teaching in undergrad. We celebrated the feast of the Immaculate Conception this Thursday with the 5th and 6th classes at Kennedy Park. The two 5th classes were able to contribute to the Mass with the songs they had learned for their class Masses this semester.

That evening, all four of us attended the Parish Youth Club in the community center. We didn’t have any plans or organized games this week, but we wanted to meet the kids and see what a typical night was like. It was a little awkward to mingle at first, as we tried to remember how to get into middle school and high school cliques (especially now that we’re about 10 years older than the kids). In the end Kurt and Dan joined a dodgeball game and Jess and I joined a conversation with some of the middle-school age kids. Next week we might work our way up to board games. On Friday, our friend John-Paul gave us a lift up to Dublin. We spent the day wandering the busy streets decked out with lights, finishing up our Christmas shopping. That evening we sang some carols at the Veritas Christmas Party and led the music at the December ACE Mass in O’Connell House.

Everyone in the parish is gearing up for Christmas. In addition to the school carol services in the next two weeks, “Santa World” (or “Santy Warld,” in the correct accent) will be in the Clonard community center this weekend. Jess and I practiced carols with the Children’s Liturgy Group to sing at the event. I discovered that I can’t assume I know familiar Christmas carols, because I learned them with American English (“When it snows, ain’t it thrilling…”) and sometimes with more syncopation (Jingle Bell Rock). Even some of the exclamations in the middle of “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” are different here! And then there are some that I have just now learned, like “The Wind in the Willows.” In any case, Jess and I will be there dressed for the occasion on Sunday afternoon. Don’t forget to listen to Kurt’s Advent reflection on Southeast Radio at 8:30pm  Irish time!