20021201 The First Noel

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Tuesday December 31, 2002

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"The First Noel"
Presented by St. Therese Youth Ministry

Photos By Joe Gigli
Story By Jeanne Dikdan Gigli

ROXBURY As the bright blue daytime sky turned to dusk on the first Sunday of Advent, Dec. 1, 2002, families with young children gathered at St. Therese's Church in Succasunna to witness in living color the mystery and joy of one of the holiest nights on the Christian calendar the birth of the Savior.

(top) Mary, played by Renee Tybus; and Joseph, played by Rudy Riveron, are joined at the manger, by shepherds Jimmy Conlan; Shawn Tighe; Mary Beth and Susanne Sclafani; and Rose Turley. (above) Renee Tybus, as Mary.

'The First Noel'

Succasunna Youth Group Performs Living Nativity Program

Photos By Joe Gigli

(above left) Renee Tybus, as Mary; Grace Crowley, as the angel; and Rudy Riveron, as Joseph; (right) "Do Not Be Afraid Joseph" the angle brings the news to Joseph. (below left) "Mary visits

her cousin Elizabeth" Carrie Sclafani, plays Elizabeth. (below right) Mary and Joseph.

By
Jeanne
Dikdan Gigli

ROXBURY As the bright blue daytime sky turned to dusk on the first Sunday of Advent, Dec. 1, 2002, families with young children gathered at St.

Therese's Church in Succasunna to witness in living color the mystery and joy of one of the holiest nights on the Christian calendar the birth of the Savior.

 The parish's Youth Ministry Program, lead by Michael Harding, put together and performed "The First Noel," a living Nativity presentation for children. It was done in story book fashion with two narrators taking turns reading the beginning Gospels of St. Luke and St. Matthew as other

members moved solemnly to create the scene being described.

 The holiday event began with a warm welcome from Mr.

Harding as he spoke about the meaning of Advent to the audience of about 250.

 "We use one candle for each of the four weeks of Advent," he explained. "We light one candle the

first week, two candles the second week, three the third week and four the last week. The candles remind us that Jesus, the Light of the World, gets closer and closer as Christmas approaches."

 Cast members then gathered at the altar to light the Advent wreath candles with holy Christmas music in the background.

 The audience experienced a treat for the eyes and ears as they watched scenes that started with the announcement of the birth of St. John the Baptist, the Angel Gabriel appears to Mary, and  Mary shares her news with Joseph, and ending with the birth of Jesus, the shepherds follow the star, and the Magi visit the newborn king.

 "The First Noel" wouldn't have been complete without special lighting that created the North Star on a wall above the altar and the cute and cuddly plush sheep with their shepherds. The afternoon ended with the playing of the "Hallelujah Chorus" and "The First Noel." All children in attendance received an Advent calendar and a small Nativity decoration.

 It was so beautifully done that this writer shed a few tears that trickled over a smile during the scene where Mary presents Joseph with the new baby. He looked on with utter amazement, joy and love. I couldn't help but equate that moment to when my husband and I laid eyes on our two little darlings right after they were born.

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