Article by Christina Razza, Class of 2018
“‘Tis the season to be jolly,” the entire Christmas season seems to revolve around presents and receiving. Today people often become so caught up in finding presents under the tree that they lose sight of the important things in life. The gift of giving to others is one so incredible that it can’t be replaced by any other. A C.R.O.S.S. event on December 3, 2014 brought myself and a handful of other students to the Congregation of the Infant Jesus Convent in Rockville Centre, where we helped decorate and spread our Christmas joy. I was paired with Paige Perrone (class of 2018) to help the retired nuns decorate; we laughed and sang for the entirety of the experience.
After constructing a Christmas tree, setting up a nativity scene, and entangling ourselves in lights, our fun had just nearly begun. Belting Christmas carols and not caring who heard and hanging every ornament brought the room to life. Every once in awhile a Sister would stop in and their eyes seemed to light up like Christmas trees. Smiles from ear to ear stretched across their sweet faces and without a word we could see they were pleased. The sisters’ joy warmed our hearts and brought smiles to our faces as well.
In the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, his heart grew three sizes bigger after giving back stolen Christmas presents; this is what anyone who gives experiences. Fortunately, many of us don’t need much; what we really need is to give and feel such happiness. Watching someone become overjoyed and knowing you helped spark that feeling on another person is the best feeling in the world.
After some Christmas carols, some conversation with the Sisters, and some photo ops, we walked out of the convent singing Christmas carols and genuinely smiling. We had given a gift to the Sisters– a gift of laughter, a gift of joy, a gift of conversation, a gift of youth. When we returned to Kellenberg, our night wasn’t over, as we had planned on attending XLT, a monthly praise and worship service.
Beginning at 6:00 PM, students of all ages came to share a meal, dance around, and most importantly, attend Eucharistic Adoration in the Millennium Room. Picture a room, with elaborate stained glass and the most perfect Christmas tree, filled with kids from grades 6 thru 12, singing along to Christmas and Christian music. This vast amount of students then kneeled in complete silence in the presence of God. I’ve attended about ten adoration services now, two at Kellenberg, and those two seemed to be the most touching faith experiences of my life.
Brother Kenneth talked to us in a way most principals wouldn’t. He told us he felt more connected to us speaking as a Marianist brother and so we listened to him as a brother, or as he referred to himself “Tobit’s keeper.” The room stayed silent as we listened to him speak to us about some of his experiences. He gave us a gift– a gift of life, a gift of vocation, a gift of faith, a gift of service, a gift of joy!
Such a night must have been stunning for everyone in the Millennium Room at XLT. As Fr. Tom blessed us with the Eucharist to conclude Eucharistic Adoration, I realized the greatest gift of all was present in front of me– the gift of Christ! In a world that revolves around what you are receiving or what you have, a day with friends and faith is truly an incredible gift.
This C.R.O.S.S. event helped me to prepare for the gift of Christ entering the world on Christmas!
“When we are generous in welcoming people and sharing with them we are enriched.” -Pope Francis