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  • Hilda Caffery

Christmas with the Berkeley

On December 13th, 2023, members and friends of the Circolo Berkeley met at the beautiful, historic Church of San Nicola da Myra, for our Christmas carol reunion. Papas Nic of the Eparchia of Lungro di Cosenza, parish priest of San Nicola da Myra, gave us a warm welcome, explaining that he is always happy to have the Circolo Berkeley’s international carol singing in his church.

As December the 13th is the festival of Santa Lucia of Syracuse, a small group of Albanian children, dressed in the Albanian national costume, recited a short poem in English, dedicated to the “Queen of Light” and then sang an Albanian carol. Various English carols, all accompanied by the pianist Stefano Pellegrino, were sung in good, strong voices. It was a pity that influenza kept so many members at home unable to join them. After a reading from the Gospel by Papas Nic, ten year old Amy skilfully played a piece on the keyboard and then we all joined in and sang as she played. “Ihr kinderlein kommet” followed, then two musicians from Sternatia, joyfully sang in Griko, after which a professional Albanian soprano sang two Albanian carols magnificently.

We ended the evening with the Prayer for Peace of Saint Francis of Assisi and “Tu scendi dalle stelle” originally composed in Neapolitan by Santo Alfonso Maria De Liguori in December 1744 in the province of Foggia.

Papas Nic gave us the farewell blessing, after which we went to his house for panettoni and drinks.

A very happy evening, enjoyed by everyone, in the true spirit of Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol”!

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