This is the time for Christmas tree lightings galore.
On Thursday, December 5, Our Lady of Grace Church, Avenue W and East 4th Street in Gravesend, hosted its tree lighting ceremony. Individual family trees were lit first while the lighting of the big rectory tree in front of the church came later in the evening.
The Christmas festivities kicked off after the 5 p.m. mass, with character visits from “Frozen” friends Olaf and Princess Elsa.
Of course, Santa made a grand appearance, as he rode in as a passenger on a firetruck. Two volunteers dressed as reindeer led Santa to his throne in the Grotto of the Blessed Mother where children lined up to take pictures with him. After sitting on Santa’s lap, each child received a candy bag.
Member of the fundraising committee and parishioner Mary Ann De Luca noted, “There were a lot of people who came out. It was really nice, and definitely joyful.”
This is the first year the celebration was so big, said De Luca. “We will always continue to make improvements,” she said.
Father Vincent Chirichella was in attendance and spoke at the festive event. There was a DJ from the parish, with laser lights which turned the church a Christmas-themed red, as another set of laser lights set the rectory building aglow with its own festive shine. Adding to the feeling of merriment, Christmas music was sung by the church choir.
Starbucks provided free hot chocolate, coffee and cakes to all who attended, according to De Luca.