The lobby of the Pastoral Center in Palm Beach Gardens typically rings with the sound of children singing and laughing this time of year at the annual Pastoral Center Christmas tree trimming. Each year, a class from one of the 17 diocesan Catholic schools from throughout the Diocese of Palm Beach is chosen to create ornaments, sing Christmas carols and witness the blessing of the tree by Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito in preparation for the Advent season.
However, due to COVID-19 precautions, students from St. Clare School in North Palm Beach—who were chosen this year for the tree trimming, Dec.3—were unable to physically visit the Pastoral Center. Despite this change in tradition, the students’ presence remained at the center of this holiday activity through the handmade ornaments on the tree and a special vide message from Bishop Barbarito to the school community.
This year’s theme for the tree trimming was “Angels we have heard on high,” which was represented in the ornaments the students created for the tree. Brightly colored paper angels covered in sequins and glitter adorned the tree, which was blessed by Bishop Barbarito.
“This tree is a blessing to our Pastoral Center,” said the bishop. “It reminds us of all that is beautiful, all that is filled with the gentleness and the promise of God. It stands in our midst as a tree of light that we might promise such beauty to one another and to our world. It stands like that tree of paradise that God made into the tree of life, the cross of Jesus.”
Bishop Barbarito continued, “Lord God, let your blessing come upon us as we illumine this tree. May the light and cheer it gives be a sign of the joy that fills our hearts. May all who delight in this tree come to the knowledge and joy of salvation.”
Superintend of schools, Gary Gelo, assisted the bishop with the blessing and members of the Office of Catholic Schools attended the tree trimming, which was coordinated by John Clarke, assistant superintendent of schools.
Click on the image below to view Bishop Barbarito’s blessing of the tree and message to the community of St. Clare school. To learn more about the 17 diocesan Catholic schools, visit diocesepbschools.org. Follow the Office of Catholic Schools on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @DoPBCatholicSchools.