My Favorite Christmas Carol: Celebrating songs and stories of the Yuletide season

In a memorable evening of Yuletide spirit and song at the Jesuit Residence, the Ateneo de Manila University’s Jesuit Fathers gathered together for the online concert, “My Favorite Christmas Carol”, last Sunday, December 19.

Streamed live via the social media pages of JesCom, JMM, and Radyo Katipunan 87.9 FM, the virtual Christmas musicale served as a welcome reunion for the Ateneo Jesuit community, and helped bolster relief efforts in the wake of Typhoon Odette.

“We are just finding out these past few days, the damage and destruction brought about by Super Typhoon Odette. The Ateneo DReaM (Disaster Response and Management) team, Tanging Yaman Foundation, and Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan are already sending out help to the victims. Even as we celebrate Christmas, as we sing our carols, may we keep them in our hearts and prayers,” reminded Ateneo High School Campus Ministry Head, Fr. Ro Atilano SJ to open the night’s festivities.

Before joining Fr. Jonjee Sumpaico SJ for “The First Noel”, alongside Fr. Manoling Francisco SJ on piano, Fr. Jett Villarin SJ encouraged audiences to take heart and find hope in the ‘gift of the Christ Child’.

“I hope that this concert will also inspire us to sing in our own homes, to sing from the heart, to sing joyous songs. Even if this pandemic has had us mourning, we will not be muted by despair,” said the former Ateneo de Manila President.

“Let us not lose heart. I hope that this little offering of ours will inspire us to find hope, peace, and serenity in the mystery of Christmas.”

As the stirring vocals of JMM’s Rey Malipot paired perfectly with Fr. Jason Dy SJ, Fr. Ro Atilano SJ, and Fr. Nemy Que SJ, on “Paglamig ng Hangin”, “Emanuel” and “Pasko ng Paglaya” respectively, Fr. Nono Alfonso SJ recalled fond memories and cheerful lessons from his childhood Christmas experiences.

“It should be our prayer at Christmas time and throughout the year, that there’d be more laughing and smiling. People can be kinder, more loving, more forgiving towards one another. I guess, be holier even,” shared the JesCom Executive Director leading to his “Silver Bells” solo number.

Singing “Little Christmas Tree” upon the special request of Fr. Bert Ampil SJ was Fr. Munching de Guzman SJ. Meanwhile, joining up for a “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” duet was Fr. Cesar Marin SJ and Fr. James Gascon SJ. Returning to the stage for “O Holy Night”- a favorite of Fr. Ben Nebres SJ- was the trio of Fr. Nono, Fr. Jason, and Fr. Jonjee.

Prior to the Jesuit Fathers’ “Ang Pasko ay Sumapit” and “We Wish you a Merry Christmas” ensemble performances, Fr. Bobby Yap SJ offered his thanksgiving message and heartwarming reflections.

“The Advent and Christmas messages promise that God has not abandoned us, and God will restore our fortunes, that we shall be safe and dwell secure,” reassured the Ateneo de Manila University President.

“As we celebrate Advent and Christmas in our dark world, we can see signs of God’s comforting presence all around us- the dedicated healthcare workers, the families and friends who have shown us love in ways big and small.”

After having opened the doors to their home to share Christmas cheer to over 11,000 viewers, Fr. Jose Quilongquilong SJ gave the final blessing, wishing “a hopeful and a healing Christmas to all”.

Watch “My Favorite Christmas Carol” via YouTube and Facebook.

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