“Oh, Who Loves Nicholas the Saintly?” Our Campus Children!
4 December 2011 • On-campus Event • St. Nicholas Party • By Deborah (Malacky) Belonick
Each year, St. Nicholas (aka Santa Claus, Svyatyi Mykolay, Father Christmas, Sinterklaas, San Nicola, et cetera) visits the seminary campus to distribute gifts and candy to our resident children during a festive get-together following Divine Liturgy. Bidding his presence requires a little wonder-working: our church school children sing the traditional hymn "Oh, who loves Nicholas the saintly" three times, and faster than a flying reindeer, he appears. With wide eyes and expectant hearts, the children welcome the ancient bishop's warm blessing and, of course, the presents that he brings.
Planning this year's celebration were Bettye Malone, long-time chapel member and church school supporter; Peggy Meyendorff, coordinator of the chapel coffee hour; and Ashley Lear, 2nd-year student. Seminarian Lear, under the guidance of Archpriest Chad Hatfield, chancellor/CEO, is the 2010–2011 Church School Coordinator.
The St. Nicholas Day party became an integral part of this year's church school curriculum, which is designed around major themes. Church school children—numbering around 40—meet two to three times per semester on Saturdays to engage in 3-hour sessions centered around these primary topics.
"On the Saturday before St. Nicholas Day," said Seminarian Lear, "we had a three-hour event, with three lessons, two craft projects, a brief musical rehearsal, and lunch. The theme of the day was 'Nativity,' and it included preparations for the visit of St. Nicholas on Sunday, the next day. With the cooperation of the children's parents, I hope to organize more events such as this one, probably three or four next semester, including one during Great Lent."