Ursuline Academy performed their Christmas pageant Tuesday, telling the story of Jesus Christ's birth. (Jarek Rutz/Delaware LIVE News)

Ursuline’s Nativity kickstarts celebration of Christmas

Jarek RutzHeadlines, Education

Ursuline Academy’s second grade routinely offers a Christmas pageant at the end of the year, but this year’s was a bit fluffier.

In addition to 13 students, the cast for the first time included animals – several goats, a calf, an alpaca and a donkey –  to tell the story of Jesus’s birth.

“When Jesus was born, there were plenty of animals around, so this definitely makes it more realistic and authentic for our students,” said Samantha Varano, principal of Ursuline’s Lower School.

The Nativity story takes place in the courtyard of the Wilmington Catholic school.

Quiver Farms in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania provided the furry friends for the 30-minute production. 

“Today’s performance is a way for the kids to learn more about their faith and how Jesus was born,” said Ursuline senior Emily Copeland, “and honestly, that’s what Christmas is really about.”

The second-graders sang traditional sacred songs for each scene.

“O Come, O Come Emmanuel” was sung first to illustrate a prophet foretelling the coming of the savior. 

In the next scene, the angel Gabriel salutes the blessed Virgin Mary, to the hymn of “Hail Mary, Gentle Woman.”

After that, the students acted out St. Luke sharing the word of the birth of Jesus Christ to the song “Away in a Manger.”

As the students playing shepherds headed toward the manger, they sang “Angels We Have Heard On High,” and “Silent Night,” as the Wise Men were led by the star to Jesus.

“It’s wonderful that everybody can gather together in the spirit of Christmas and celebrate one another, celebrate our community and celebrate the reason for the season,” said Ursuline President Trisha Medeiros.

After the ceremony, students swarmed the animals for photos, hugs and laughter – all while avoiding hind-leg  kicks from the alpaca, which seemed to occur with no warning when someone rubbed a specific portion of its back. 

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“The live animals were my favorite part,” said Ursuline senior Evelyn Parsonage. 

She’s been at Ursuline since she started middle school and has seen the Christmas pageant every year. 

“The pageant has kind of become my own tradition, and it really feels like a kickstart to winter break and Christmas,” she said. “It reminds us of what Christmas is really all about and it gets us all together.”

Copeland said her favorite part of the Christmas pageant was seeing how enthused and in character the little ones were during their performance.

“It’s a good way for them to express themselves,” she said, “and it’s also a great way for them to celebrate while having some creative outlet to tell the story of Christmas.”

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