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Celebration at St. Vincent continues the Christmas spirit

Shirley McMarlin
| Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
(from left), Elaine Mahoy, of Murrysville, and her grandson, William Jeffries, of Export, admire the nativity, during the Greensburg Garden Center church tour of Saint Vincent Basilica, held on Saturday afternoon, January 7, 2017.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
(from left), Elaine Mahoy, of Murrysville, and her grandson, William Jeffries, of Export, admire the nativity, during the Greensburg Garden Center church tour of Saint Vincent Basilica, held on Saturday afternoon, January 7, 2017.
Roderick Booker, (center), directs the WCCC Concert Choir, during the Greensburg Garden Center church tour of Saint Vincent Basilica, held on Saturday afternoon, January 7, 2017.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Roderick Booker, (center), directs the WCCC Concert Choir, during the Greensburg Garden Center church tour of Saint Vincent Basilica, held on Saturday afternoon, January 7, 2017.
Tour-goers, (from left), Pam Turner, of Greensburg, and Glenda Uncapher, of Greensburg, admire their surroundings during the Greensburg Garden Center church tour of Saint Vincent Basilica, held on Saturday afternoon, January 7, 2017.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Tour-goers, (from left), Pam Turner, of Greensburg, and Glenda Uncapher, of Greensburg, admire their surroundings during the Greensburg Garden Center church tour of Saint Vincent Basilica, held on Saturday afternoon, January 7, 2017.
(from left), John and Linda McCune, of Allegheny Township, admire their surroundings during the Greensburg Garden Center church tour of Saint Vincent Basilica, held on Saturday afternoon, January 7, 2017.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
(from left), John and Linda McCune, of Allegheny Township, admire their surroundings during the Greensburg Garden Center church tour of Saint Vincent Basilica, held on Saturday afternoon, January 7, 2017.
Roderick Booker directs the Westmoreland County Community College Concert Choir at the Greensburg Garden Center's 2016 tour of Saint Vincent Basilica in Unity. The choir will perform again at this year's tour on Jan. 7.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Roderick Booker directs the Westmoreland County Community College Concert Choir at the Greensburg Garden Center's 2016 tour of Saint Vincent Basilica in Unity. The choir will perform again at this year's tour on Jan. 7.
Tour-goers, (from left), Myra Mamo, of Murrysville, and Lorie Bollibon, of Murrysville, pose for a photo during the Greensburg Garden Center church tour of Saint Vincent Basilica, held on Saturday afternoon, January 7, 2017.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Tour-goers, (from left), Myra Mamo, of Murrysville, and Lorie Bollibon, of Murrysville, pose for a photo during the Greensburg Garden Center church tour of Saint Vincent Basilica, held on Saturday afternoon, January 7, 2017.
Tour-goers, (from left), Constance Burick, of Ligonier, and Lougene Whiteman, of Latrobe, pose for a photo during the Greensburg Garden Center church tour of Saint Vincent Basilica, held on Saturday afternoon, January 7, 2017.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Tour-goers, (from left), Constance Burick, of Ligonier, and Lougene Whiteman, of Latrobe, pose for a photo during the Greensburg Garden Center church tour of Saint Vincent Basilica, held on Saturday afternoon, January 7, 2017.
Greensburg Garden Center board members, (from left), Carla Rusnica, Jane Petrovich and Elizabeth Pesci, gather for a photo during the Greensburg Garden Center church tour of Saint Vincent Basilica, held on Saturday afternoon, January 7, 2017.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Greensburg Garden Center board members, (from left), Carla Rusnica, Jane Petrovich and Elizabeth Pesci, gather for a photo during the Greensburg Garden Center church tour of Saint Vincent Basilica, held on Saturday afternoon, January 7, 2017.
(from left), WCCC Concert Choir member, Jeff Moyer, of Greensburg, joins Diana Trout, of Greensburg, and Jim Dodds, of Penn Township, for a photo during the Greensburg Garden Center church tour of Saint Vincent Basilica, held on Saturday afternoon, January 7, 2017.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
(from left), WCCC Concert Choir member, Jeff Moyer, of Greensburg, joins Diana Trout, of Greensburg, and Jim Dodds, of Penn Township, for a photo during the Greensburg Garden Center church tour of Saint Vincent Basilica, held on Saturday afternoon, January 7, 2017.
Roderick Booker, (center), director of the WCCC Concert Choir, joins choir members, Forrest Moore, (L), of Scottdale, and Kathleen Ashbaugh, of Ligonier, for a photo during the Greensburg Garden Center church tour of Saint Vincent Basilica, held on Saturday afternoon, January 7, 2017.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Roderick Booker, (center), director of the WCCC Concert Choir, joins choir members, Forrest Moore, (L), of Scottdale, and Kathleen Ashbaugh, of Ligonier, for a photo during the Greensburg Garden Center church tour of Saint Vincent Basilica, held on Saturday afternoon, January 7, 2017.
Co-chairs, (from left), Donna Lee and Diane Dale, join Fr. Fred Byrne for a photo, during the Greensburg Garden Center church tour of Saint Vincent Basilica, held on Saturday afternoon, January 7, 2017.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Co-chairs, (from left), Donna Lee and Diane Dale, join Fr. Fred Byrne for a photo, during the Greensburg Garden Center church tour of Saint Vincent Basilica, held on Saturday afternoon, January 7, 2017.

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 smcmarlin@tribweb.com.

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