‘Tis the Season: Merry Christmas Villanova Week

The Christmas tree lighting is a great tradition at Villanova.

Villanova University has done a masterful job of making the Merry Christmas Villanova Week enjoyable for all students through a diverse set of events and hard work from many organizations on campus.  This annual tradition at the University brought together the Villanova community through traditional Christmas events  

Events that students enjoyed included the Christmas tree lighting at the Riley Ellipse, with the lighting of the tree being a central symbol of joy and togetherness. The Villanova Voices and Singers provided a festive musical backdrop while there was holiday food waiting at the food trucks.

Another very popular event is the Campus Activities Team’s trip to New York City. The Big Apple at Christmas time is the place to be. There’s the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, ice skating, the many shops to buy items for the Christmas list, delicious food, the Rockettes and more. It is fun to take a day away from studying and spend time in an area that brings Christmas to life.

The Campus Activities Team gingerbread decorating is a hot event to go to. When one thinks of Christmas, the sweet smells and tastes of cookies are not far behind, especially with gingerbread in the mix. This event is held in Café Nova and is sure to prepare students for the delightful sweets of the Christmas season.

A special new event was added for this year is the Holiday Village and Night Market, which will take place Thursday, Dec. 9 on the Rowen Campus Green. There will be plenty of vendors, food trucks, a beer garden, photo ops, music and a lights show.

The reason for the season must not be forgotten, and the University does a wonderful job each year of hosting events to bring students closer to the faith. There are three Masses for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 8 and Dec. 11, respectively. The University also hosts an Advent Reconciliation Service for students to connect closer to the Scriptures, utilize the sacrament of Reconciliation, which is available from noon to midnight, and examine their conscience.  

If one is not of the Catholic faith, Campus Ministry is hosting “A Celebration of Light” as the University celebrates with Advent candles and Hanukkah menorahs. This event is a theme of light, which provides a student dinner, run by the Interfaith Coalition, in the Saint Rita’s Community Room.

The Merry Christmas Villanova Week runs from Dec. 1-12.  To make all these events operate smoothly, organizations come together to plan out all the schedules to be as inclusive and spectacular as possible. Organizations that helped plan, promote and execute the programs include The Campus Activities Team, Office of Student Involvement, President’s Office, Villanova Pastorals, Singers, Voices, Band and Chamber Strings, Villanova University Tech Crew and Campus Ministry.

The additional events that are not listed above are joyful and merry in their own way. The Pastorals held their first concert since March 2020 in the Saint Thomas of Villanova Church, with an “all is calm, all is bright” theme. They always bring the student Masses to a higher level.  The Quizzo is always in the weekly mix, this time being holiday themed, to test students’ knowledge.  

More musical excellence hit the schedule last Saturday at the Christmas Choral Concert, performed by the Villanova Singers and Voices, with the joint singing of Robert Shaw’s Many Moods and Morten Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium. The Villanova Band and Chamber Strings followed on Sunday in the Topper Theatre with traditional Christmas music.

What could Christmas be without Villanova basketball?  The Campus Activities Team hosted a game watch against former Big East rival, Syracuse, in Jake Nevin Fieldhouse. It is always delightful to see the powerful basketball team in action.

The Merry Christmas Villanova Week will conclude with the blessing of the Nativity scene in the Grotto after the 7 p.m. Mass with Christmas carols, cookies and hot chocolate. University President Rev. Peter M. Donoghue, O.S.A., Ph.D., will be presiding. Merry Christmas Villanova Week is run well for its varied number of events that include as many students as possible. The events are run by the students and provide an enjoyable time during a stressful period of finals.