Mass of the Gifts
The Ursuline Christmas Mass, the Mass of the Gifts, took place on Friday 18 December. Star Systems were on hand to record the occasion and stream it live into classrooms, meaning students and staff could participate virtually. The actual Mass was celebrated by School Chaplain, Fr Jim Purcell, in the Sr Ursula Memorial Hall with a select group of teachers, musicians and a trio of singers present to ensure social distancing and compliance with HSE guidelines. Fr Jim said that God gave humanity the ultimate gift, his Son born into the world as a little baby. He hoped that the spirit of God would come alive in everyone this Christmas as Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of God as a helpless little baby. He drew the attention of the congregation to the crib which has no doors, it is an open invitation to all, the birth of Jesus is for everyone, no body is shut out. Thanks to the musicians and singers who sparkled with a selection of festive hymns and instrumentals that included a lively trad rendition of Ding, Dong Merrily on High, Senior Orchestra, strings section only playing The First Noel. Lucy Butler, Sixth Year, did a beautiful liturgical movement and Cathy Hogan, standing a good distance from everyone else and behind a partition played a trumpet recessional of Joy to the World that lifted everyone’s spirits. Thanks to singers, readers and musicians on a wonderful Mass full of the most exquisite Christmas hymns to gladden the heart.
Christmas Carol Service
The annual Christmas Carol Service was pre-recorded at various locations around the School and in the Nun’s Chapel on Thursday 10 December. Both School Choirs were involved, Cecilian and Chamber. However no actual singing could take place on the day. To ensure the Carol Service was conducted safely the Choir members uploaded their individual parts to Music teacher Ms Butler who blended them all together digitally to create a virtual Choir. It was so professionally done that it really did look as if the Choirs were singing rather than just lip syncing. The trad group played a medley of songs while the Chamber Choir did a thrilling version of Oh Holy Night. In keeping with tradition the First Years did a movement with candles to Silent Night sung in German, Irish and English. Each class was recorded individually, one group in front of the School Crib, two groups in the Prayer Room at separate times, two groups in the Convent Chapel and a class who were filmed in front of the School Christmas tree. It was lovely that the First Years got to experience the Silent Night movement as it is always fondly remembered by older Year groups. The link to watch the Carol Service was sent out to parents last Thursday, 17 December enabling students to watch it at home with their parents.
Thanks to the Fifth Year School Councillors who organised Christmas themed activities in the lead up to the Holidays. They videoed all the different fun things that were going on in the previous weeks and put together a funny montage of everything in a 40 minute video which all students watched in their classes on Friday. The highlight was the UCT’s Fittest Year which saw Sixth Years and Fifth Years go head to head in a series of fitness challenges encouraged by their teacher mentors Ms Gleeson and Mr Rabitte. The Fifth Years had the winning formula and were crowned UCT’s Fittest Year group 2020. Other Christmas games included a decorate the classroom door especially for teachers and finish the lyric. Everyone got into the jolly atmosphere and were determined to do fun things as normal but with a 2020 Covid twist.