[The author is one of two winners of the first Pacific Island Times Journalism competition at Yap Catholic High School. Five members of the Journalism Club at the school entered the competition.]
Lamar, Rull—Yap Yap Catholic High School is just shy of its seventh year of operation, but it carries on traditions that are much older.
Case in point: its annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols event at its twenty-two acre rural campus in Rull Municipality. The latest edition took place last December.
According to The Daily Telegraph—a major newspaper based in London, England, the Festival first took place on Christmas Eve in 1918 at King’s College Chapel Cambridge. The event was introduced by Eric Milner-White, the Dean of that College, who believed that more imaginative worship was needed in the Church of England. Tradition dictated that the service would be observed with nine lessons from the Holy Scriptures and Christmas carols focusing on the story of the Coming of the Messiah, the fall of humanity due to sin, and Jesus; because of this, the first carol of the event had always been “Once in Royal David’s City.”
Since in the present day YCHS strives to provide its students with a well-rounded education and spiritual formation, it adopted the Lessons and Carols tradition begun by the Church of England after the school’s founding.
The 2018 Festival held at the school was organized by Alex Greenshields, a member of the YCHS faculty, technology coordinator and school choir coach. The members of the school choir had practiced hard for the event since early November. However, the choir was the not the only group that participated. Lectors from all four classes were responsible for reading the Bible passages and conveying the message of the Advent season through the Scriptures to the audience.
After the Lessons and Carols event, the school, through its bake sale, made it possible for the school to raise additional funds for school operation, generating over $300. Principal Michael Wiencek noted that the event provided a great experience both for the participants and the members of the audience.