If you watched the National Tree Lighting Ceremony on November 28, you may have noticed one musical act that stood apart from the others. Hosted by actor and model Antonio Sabàto Jr, the program featured acts like country singer Abby Anderson, Irish tenor Anthony Kearns, singer/songwriter Gabby Barrett, country duos LOCASH and Thompson Square, contemporary Christian artist Matthew West, pianist Paul Cardall, urban gospel/country-soul singer Spensha Baker, John Driskell Hopkins of the Zac Brown Band, and the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own.” Also featured? The Dominican Sisters of Mary.
The tree lighting ceremony has been a beloved fixture of the holiday season in the United States for nearly a century. It was first held in 1923 by President Calvin Coolidge, who walked from the White House to the Ellipse to light the National Christmas tree. The tree was a 48-foot fur decorated with 2,500 red, white, and green bulbs, and the tree lighting was accompanied by a local choir and a quartet from the U.S. Marine Band. Today, it’s a much larger spectacle, and attendees must apply for tickets through a lottery.
The Dominican Sisters of Mary are no strangers to major cultural events and have performed publicly many times. They’re familiar faces because of their appearances on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” as well as on NBC’s Today Show, The Associated Press, NBC News Nightly, NPR, Good Morning America, Telegraph UK, Fox & Friends, and CBS This Morning. They’ve also released three Billboard and Amazon #1 Classical chart-topping recordings, including Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring: Christmas with The Dominican Sisters of Mary. This album contains a capella arrangements and small chamber orchestra accompaniment tracks, with the Sisters playing the various instruments.
As to what they’d perform at the lighting ceremony, the Sisters kept it secret until the day of the ceremony. The National Parks Service selected them to perform and flew them from their motherhouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan to Washington, D.C. After being introduced as “our very own caroling angels,” the Sisters performed “Carol of the Bells,” a classic Christmas song and were singled out by President Trump with praise for their performance. Watching these Sisters, a teaching order numbering 120, with an average age of 30, was a heartwarming moment for Catholics across our nation.
The Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of San Jose is proud to be a part of the Catholic Community in San Jose, California. Committed to providing a sacred place where families can remember loved ones in a peaceful and hope-filled setting, we welcome you and your family to visit our properties and experience the peace of these prayerful places. If you have questions, we’re happy to answer them. We have three locations: Calvary Catholic Cemetery in San Jose, Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Los Altos, and St. John the Baptist Cemetery in Milpitas. If you’d like to know more about our properties, or you need to know where to send flowers, you can contact us through our website, or call Calvary at 833-428-0379, Gate of Heaven at 833-304-0763, or St. John the Baptist at 833-428-0379.