It was a blessed evening. Rain threatened to pour on the night of St. Francis de Sales’ lighting and blessing of the trees in the Prayer Garden on Tuesday, December 10, but in a Christmas miracle, the rain held off and made for a lovely evening to light more than 100 trees and angels.
The evening began with carols played on speakers as crowds of local families and children gathered around the prayer garden on Beach 129th Street. Father Bill Sweeney and Father Jim Cunningham then led everyone in prayer as they blessed the trees that contain names of loved ones who have passed away or are struggling.
Father Bill then called up Siobhan O’Sullivan and her friends to the front, so O’Sullivan could press the button to turn on the lights. Father Bill explained that O’Sullivan was picked as she has been battling cancer. As a way to welcome her back to school, SFDS picked her to light the trees as an example of her courage and strength through her battle.
Following the lighting, all were invited to the SFDS gym, where guests were treated to cookies, hot chocolate, DJ music and a very special appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus, who went around taking pictures with all of the children.
Photos by Father Jomar Legaspi.
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