Christmas on the Hill!

Christmastime at Holy Cross is one of the best times to be a part of the campus community. From dorm halls holding door decorating contests to the chaplain’s office and school groups offering services for students who celebrate Hannukah and Kwanza, there is something to do for students from all sorts of different backgrounds.

As students engage in spreading Christmas cheer by decorating their dorm rooms the school puts on major events that the whole community takes part of. First, there is the annual Christmas tree lighting where students partake in Christma carols, hot cocoa, cookies, and pictures with Santa Clause during the celebration of lighting the campus Christmas tree in front of the historic O’Kane Hall! Then there is the “Festival of Lessons and Carols” where the whole community squeezes into Saint Joseph’s Chapel to sing Christmas songs deep into the night!

Despite the deep connection of Christianity to the celebration of Christmas, one does not have to be a practicing Christian to be part of the campus cheer during the season. Whether Jewish, Muslim, or non-practicing, the true essence of Christmastime at Holy Cross rests in everyone’s love and respect for each other. We come together as a community to celebrate every unique individual that makes Holy Cross such an amazing place for college.

Saint Joseph’s Chapel where the popular Festival of Lessons and Carols is held.
The clock tower of O’Kane hall sporting festive snow and icicles
The Nativity Scene set up before the entrance to the historic O’Kane Hall.

Thanksgiving at the Cross!

It’s that time on campus! The brisk Worcester winter has settled on campus as we all crank up the heat in our dorm rooms and trade out the sweatshirts for our heavier winter jackets, hats, and gloves. Switching out or ice coffees and teas for hot coffee and chocolate from Cool Beans and Cafe Babel, the winter spirit really is flourishing on campus!

A staple of wintertime on the Hill is our annual Thanksgiving dinner at Kimball Dining Hall! This year’s meal included turkey (of course), mash potatoes, gravy, squash, cranberry sauce, rolls, salad, corn, apple cider, pumpkin pie, apple pie, and vanilla ice cream! As I had moot court practice later that night that our captain decided that we would all have a team Thanksgiving dinner before we headed off to practice our oral arguments.

Due to Kimball Thanksgiving Dinner being so popular, the moot court team arrived 15 minutes before dinner began to get to the front of the line. As we waited for dining services to put all the food out a line began to form behind us that looped all the way around the entire dining room! Filling our plates up with a variety of traditional Thanksgiving food we quickly hurried off to our 18 person table where we all feasted, stuffing ourselves with food till we could barely move.  Eating and laughing about funny moments between the team members, time quickly flew by, forcing us to hurry to our practice with pumpkin and apple pies with ice cream on our plates. Our coaches met us laughing, asking us why none of us brought a pie for themselves. Just as the Pilgrims and Native Americans celebrated the friendship and community between the two peoples at the first Thanksgiving, the student body celebrates the friendship and community that permeates throughout the Holy Cross campus.

Kimball Dining Hall where the majority of campus gathers to eat meals.
A picture of the pumpkin pie Holy Cross students were treated to at Thanksgiving Dinner.

Rushing in the Second Year!

Mount Saint James is abuzz with excitement in the first couple of months of the school year! Between the construction of the new recreation center and the new performing arts center, the campus has never been busier than ever!

When I returned to campus to begin fall classes it was as though I had never left. Having dinner in Kimball with friends, going to classes in Stein and Smith Hall, and studying late into the nights in Dinand put me right back into the groove of things!

The second year of Holy Cross has also opened up so many new avenues for me as a student to explore! While I have been busy with my classwork, as usual, I have also been busy with so many extracurricular activities on campus!

Being a now second-year “veteran” in the school’s Moot Court Team has lead to me diving into the matters of constitutional law more than I had ever thought I would in my lifetime. Recently, the school just held its Moot Court invitational, where my partner and I successfully made it past the first-day competition to the highly coveted “out-rounds” of the tournament. While I was eventually knocked out, Holy Cross proudly showed our HC Pride as the finals of the tournament were held between two Holy Cross teams!

Becoming a more active member of the school’s College Democrats chapter, I have had an abundance of opportunities to get involved with politics on the local and state level. I started off the year with a few other Holy Cross students attending the Worcester Labor Breakfast where we all held signs for senatorial-candidate Congressman Joe Kennedy!

While this summer was an amazing experience for me, I am so grateful and happy to be back on campus: my second home with my second family.

 

Dinand Library, my absolute favorite spot on campus!
A rendering of the new Performing Arts Center
A rendering of the new recreation center!

 

A Campus Away From Campus

While Holy Cross has a wonderful campus with essentially unlimited extracurricular opportunities, I do have to admit that sometimes you develop that need to get away from campus for a few hours. Thankfully, the college has its very own retreat center less than 25 minutes away!

Holy Cross’s retreat center, the Joyce Contemplative Center, presents students with an amazing opportunity to get away from what can sometimes be a busy campus and simply slow things down to reflect on life. Located on a hilltop that overlooks gorgeous hills and a waterway, the JCC always offers an amazing sunset for students to look at! Most of the college’s retreats are held at the JCC. There are retreats for first-year students, the LGBTQ+ community, as well as a variety of other retreats that offer amazing opportunities. I definitely recommend trying to get to the JCC at least once during your first year at Holy Cross!

On a snowy day in February, I and my Montserrat classmates piled into school vans at Hogan to make the journey to the JCC. While pulling up the driveway our gaze was met with a beautiful contemporary building that just screamed: “forget about all your classes for an hour and just relax!” In the snow and cold, we all dashed to the entrance where we were greeted by a cozy crackling fireplace and a spacious dining room. On the left side of the building, there were hotel rooms for overnight retreats and there was a beautiful fully glass contemplation room that overlooks the surrounding nature located in the back of the building where we ended up performing our group presentations.

The main attraction for students is not just the beautiful building, the serene campus, or the escape from coursework. No, what do college students love almost more than anything else? FOOD of course! The JCC is renowned for dishing out some of the tastiest meals every single crusader has ever experienced in their lives. My meal was no different. With chicken parm as the main course with fresh veggies, salad, pasta, and garlic bread as sides I was stuffed. Oh wait, did I forget to mention that they also have freshly baked cookies for dessert?

Whether it’s for the retreat, the beautiful building, the serene campus, or the food; I can’t recommend going to the JCC at least once during your freshmen year!

An aerial shot of the Joyce Contemplative Center during the fall
A view of the deck of the JCC that overlooks the surrounding nature
Take a virtual tour of the JCC!

It’s Christmastime on Campus!

It’s that time of year, Christmastime! Seemingly everyone, whether or not you are religious, has a soft spot in their heart for Christmas. Christmas brings with it activities that provide us with boundless limits of joy, and Christmas on campus is no different! While students themselves may kick off the Christmas spirit by decorating their doors and rooms in the residence halls, the Purple Key Society on campus sets the mood with their annual Christmas tree lighting outside of O’Kane Hall.

Being in attendance at the Christmas tree lighting myself, I can testify that it was truly something magical. Making the walk with a group of friends from Hanselman Hall to O’Kane in the brisk winter air set the mood for a fun-filled and festive night ahead. When we arrived at the celebration we were greeted with cookies and hot chocolate along with a very enthusiastic Santa that was trying to convince everyone to take pictures after the tree lighting. The event began with a multitude of performances from campus bands and singing groups that got everyone into the Christmas spirit with hits such as “Jingle Bell Rock” and Mariah Carey’s famous “All I want for Christmas” and culminated with the blessing and lighting of the campus Christmas tree!

 

Students gather for Christmas tree lighting.
Christmas tree lighting occurs at the end of the event.