Double Tree-Lighting Ceremony Honors 9/11 Victims
By Marsha Sereno
The warm glow of Christmas lights chased the chill from the night air last Saturday at Mary, Queen of Heaven Church in Old Mill Basin.
At a solemn ceremony in front of the church, Pastor Rev. William Dulaney, and Rev. Jamie Gigantiello blessed a giant Christmas tree patriotically bedecked in red, white and blue lights. The tree was dedicated to honor those who perished in the attacks on America on September 11th. A minute of silence was observed in their memory.
After the dedication ceremony, the hundreds in attendance proceeded to the side of the church for the annual blessing of the church’s nativity scene, tree of lights and memorial tree. The joyous sound of Christmas carols filled the air as young and old alike decorated the memorial tree for a number of special intentions: in honor of or in memory of a loved one, or in thanksgiving for some blessing they had received in their lives.
Youngsters were delighted by a surprise visit from Santa (portrayed by Santa’s helper, parishioner Pete Toal). Following the ceremonies to herald in the Christmas season, all in attendance were treated to hot chocolate and doughnuts.