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Understanding Christ Among Us

The Chapelle Saint-Patrick was packed with standing room only (and many more outside) for the annual Advent Carol Service held at 17:00 on Sunday, December 9, 2012. The Carol Service was truly an excellent representation of the Irish Community living here in Paris and Ile-de-France. In addition to the Irish Ambassador Mr Paul Kavanagh, on behalf of the Irish Government, we had representatives from culture (Centre Culturel Irlandais), sport (Paris Gaels), business (NetworkIrlande, Enterprise Ireland and the Industrial Development Agency), and religious life (Good Shepherd Sisters and Congregation of the Passion). We also welcomed our French friends and visitors who had travelled from other parts of France and the Wesley College Choir from Dublin.

The Irish Chaplain, Fr Sean Maher, welcomed everyone to the Chapelle Saint-Patrick for the Advent Carol Service. He particularly welcomed the visiting 40 strong Wesley Choir of the Methodist tradition in Ireland who were here in Paris to help us celebrate our Carol Service. Fr Sean said that the Carol Service was “not a concert or for those passing by— but with music, prayers, readings and poetry we would grow in the understanding of Christ among us”.

The Chapelle Saint-Patrick Choir, under the direction of Marie Cullen, led everyone in the singing of many traditional and popular carols: Adeste Fideles, The First Nowell, Angels we have heard on high, Behold a Virgin, Silent Night (verses in English, Irish and French), and Joy to the World. Children were invited to sit with the choir in leading the singing of Away in a Manger.

In addition we had a number of specialist carols. Grainne Hawkes and the choir sung the Irish carol  Don Oíche úd i mBeithil; four students sung Ring Christmas Bells; the Wesley Choir (standing in the two galleries at the back of the chapel) sung the lively and spirited Latin carol Gaudete which was written in the 16th century; while Lena Hennessy and the Wesley Choir sang a beautiful O Holy Night.

The liturgy was rich in variety and meaning. There were readings from the Old Testament of Isaiah (read in French); the New Testament of St Luke and St John; Dei Verbum (document from Vatican Council II); the poem Advent from Patrick Kavanagh; an appropriate psalm; and a reflection written by a young person on understanding God’s peace.

After the Prayers of the Faithful, reciting of Ár nAthair, the final prayer and blessing Fr Sean had an unexpected phone call from Santa Claus all the way from the North Pole. In an amusing conversation, which was retold to the congregation, Santa Claus wished us all a happy and peaceful Christmas!!

After the Advent Carol Service everyone was invited across the courtyard to taste the seasonal refreshments of mince pies and hot mulled wine prepared and served by the Hospitality Ministry team.

The Salle d’Exposition was host to Sr Noreen and the Good Shepherd Sisters from Angers who were selling crafts made by people from developing countries. The €2,200 raised from the sale will be sent back to those who made the crafts thereby making a contribution to improving their daily lives.

We would like to thank all those who were involved in making the Advent Carol Service such a successful occasion.

  • Liturgy team for putting together the rich and diverse programme.
  • The Chapelle Saint-Patrick Choir directed by Marie Cullen together with Nick Vincent playing the piano and the soloists: Lena Hennessy, Grainne Hawkes , John Devlin and Kieran McCarthy.
  • The 40 strong Wesley Choir from Dublin led by Helen Doyle.
  • The readers:  Isaiah (Kathleen Suret), the Gospel of St Luke (Fr Aidan Troy of St Joseph’s), the Gospel of St John (chosen by the Wesley College), Dei Verbum (John Condren), the poem “Advent” from Patrick Kavanagh (Sheila Pratschke, Director of Centre Culturel Irlandais), a psalm (Eileen Jennings, Chair Paris Gaels), and a reflection on understanding God’s peace (Cameron Garvey).
  • And, the Hospitality Ministry led by Ann Garvey and the team of volunteers including Kathleen Suret who made the delicious mulled wine.

Multimedia Content
If you would like a reminder of the Advent Carol Service (or if you were not able to attend) you can view photos in our Photo Gallery and also download a recording of the hour long service.