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Christmas Traditions - Gibbons Style
Rachelle Garbarine

 

An image of Advent candles and wreath.

Amid this unprecedented holiday season when the coronavirus has upended daily life, the Cardinal Gibbons school community continued its annual Christmas tradition by giving back, in big ways and small, to individuals and non-profit groups throughout the Triangle.

Gibbons student carries a bag of Christmas gifts collected during NHS Toy and Clothing Drive.

Despite the pandemic, our students, educators, and alumni remained committed to spreading good cheer by donating toys, clothes, and food to our neighbors in need, volunteering at the local soup kitchen, and gathering as a faith community at Mass.

Because of the pandemic, our tradition required a bit more creativity and looked a little different. “However, the goal of that tradition, which began in 1982, remained the same: to help those in need in our local community in advance of Christmas,” said Director of Outreach Gary Meyerl ’82. “It’s amazing what a little kindness does to transform our lives and the lives of others.”

Following is a sampling of our community's giving tradition:

In November, for its yearly food drive rather than collect canned food Cardinal Gibbons students and educators donated the ingredients for and the time and effort to assemble 1,248 soup kits. The kits benefited Catholic Parish Outreach (CPO) - the largest food pantry in the Triangle.

“It’s been a memorable semester, but incredibly fulfilling. We have a strong and vibrant community that has come together beautifully.” Head of School Jeff Bell

Cardinal Gibbons also held its annual Christmas Toy and Clothing Drive, collecting toys and clothing for 91 children. They ranged in age from 2 months to 12 years old and attend Beginning and Beyond Development Center, one of our service partners, said Genevieve Donahue. She and fellow Gibbons Educator Kristin Edrington ’05 are the moderators of the National Honor Society (NHS), which sponsors the annual drive.  

“It was exciting to see that even in a pandemic, Gibbons was able to provide for the children at Beginning and Beyond,” said Donahue.

In addition to our school-wide acts of charitable giving, educators and alumni also gave the gift of time. One December Monday, for instance, Director of Alumni Advancement Susan Leigh ’87 along with a small group of Gibbons Alumni and Outreach Director Gary Meyerl volunteered at Shepherd’s Table Soup Kitchen in downtown Raleigh, maintaining this annual tradition.

Fr. Daniel Oschwald, our chaplain, also invited our Gibbons community to come together in fellowship by celebrating Mass on December 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, which was live-streamed to all classrooms and made available to our students and their families virtually. On December 11, Fr. Daniel again celebrated Mass for the community in the main lobby.

Students watch Mass on screen in classroom.

Our Fine Arts Department brought the joy of the arts to our community through live-streamed Christmas performances that are available for viewing through January 1. Check out the holiday music concerts and drama production.

“It’s been a memorable semester, but incredibly fulfilling,” noted Head of School Jeff Bell. “We have a strong and vibrant community that has come together beautifully.”

Cardinal Gibbons is proud of its holiday traditions and wishes you the gift of faith, the blessing of hope, and the peace of His love at Christmas and always.

Merry Christmas!

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