Little Flowers and Blue Knights celebrate Advent with feast of St. Lucy

Jennifer Brinker |

Advent brings to mind those opportunities of celebrating in joyful anticipation of the birth of Christ: St. Nicholas Day, the feast of the Immaculate Conception -- and the feast of St. Lucy.

A group of boys and girls celebrated St. Lucy's feast at Epiphany of Our Lord Church in south St. Louis Dec. 16 as part of their regular meeting of the Little Flowers Girls' Club and Blue Knights Boys' Club.

St. Lucy, who lived in third-century Italy and was martyred in the Diocletianic Persecution, is considered the patroness of the blind. Her name means "light." In the old Church calendar, her feast coincided with the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. Her feast commonly is celebrated in Scandinavia and Italy. In Norway and Sweeden, she is represented by a young girl wearing a wreath of candles on her head, dressed in a white gown with a red sash. Children often sing songs in a procession as they carry rolls and other sweet treats.

Twelve-year-old Alexandrina Weingart received the honor of dressing as St. Lucy as she and several dozen other youngsters processed around the church grounds, chanting the Litany of the Saints. They ended their journey at the parish rectory, where they greeted parishioners attending parish and finance council meetings, sharing with them baskets of goodies.

Epiphany pastoral associate Michael Rennier noted that celebrations like this provide a teaching opportunity to "build Catholic culture and help them think of the calendar in terms of our faith."

That's what the clubs are all about, he noted. Epiphany has offered Little Flowers and Blue Knights for the past two years and is open to any child in kindergarten through fifth grade. Children learn virtues through Scripture, catechism and the saints' lives; Epiphany pastor Father Thomas Pastorius described the clubs as an opportunity for "supplemental Catholic education."

"We're giving these children and these families a Catholic culture," Rennier said. "It's not just rules about how to behave in church; this is a virtue-based approach to shape how they think about life in a Catholic way."

Kathryn Posey enrolled her daughter, Lauren, in Little Flowers as a way to keep her "involved in the faith." Posey and her daughter attend St. Mary Magdalen Parish in south St. Louis, and her daughter attends public school. By volunteering with other parents, the club "helps us connect a lot more. (Lauren) is more open to talk to me about what she's doing. This helps her live a Catholic life and learn what it means to be a Catholic at her age level."

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