Celebration at St. Vincent continues the Christmas spirit
Some people can hardly wait until Dec. 26 to take down the Christmas decorations. Others want the holiday spirit to last long into the new year.
For the latter group, St. Vincent Basilica opened its doors Jan. 7 for the Greensburg Garden Center Holiday Church Tour.
Coming the day after Epiphany and on the day of Orthodox Christmas, the tour found the basilica still decked in its holiday splendor, with a towering 40-foot tree in the chancel glittering with white lights, and dozens of poinsettias in various hues, greenery and red ribbons placed around the nave.
Elaine Mahoy of Murrysville and her grandson, William Jeffries of Export, found themselves transfixed by the Nativity scene filling one of the transepts. Along with a stable, manger and figures of the holy family, it featured desert plants and a running waterfall.
Guests were free to stroll through the magnificent edifice until it was time for a concert by the 65-member Westmoreland County Community College Concert Choir, directed by Roderick Booker. The program featured seldom-heard seasonal songs and familiar ones given new arrangements.
Preceding the choir performance, the Rev. Cyprian Constantine filled the air with welcoming selections on the basilica's custom-made, 3,000-pipe organ.
Following the music, the Rev. Fred Byrne discussed the basilica's history and architecture.
Some lucky tourgoers also had the chance to view a “Star of Bethlehem” presentation in St. Vincent College's nearby planetarium. Due to limited seating, two showings quickly sold out.
Tour co-chair Diane Dale pegged total attendance at about 225. Joining her as co-chairs were Byrne, a garden center member who also oversees gardening and landscaping at St. Vincent, and Donna Lee.
Among garden center members welcoming guests were Carla Rusnica, Nicky Heinack andJane Petrovich.
Seen: Maureen Zang, Doug Evans, Norma Brodak, Sharon Wakefield, Linda Wakefield, James Dodds, Ray andMary Lou Zepek, Bobbi Guest, Brenda Johnson, Jeff Moyer, Diana Trout, Dolly Queer, Beverly Guber, Debra Newill, Bill andJudy Shaffer, Constance Burick, Lougene Whiteman, Ray andPat Feranchak andFred andSilvia Marton.
Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5750 or firstname.lastname@example.org.