Annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony is Nov. 29
Join the St. Thomas community at the Summit Avenue arches on the St. Paul campus for the ninth annual Christmas tree- and crèche-lighting ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 29.
The ceremony also will feature music and readings to herald the holiday season. The outdoor ceremony begins at 5 p.m., and a reception follows with hot chocolate and cider and cookies.
More than 30,000 outdoor Christmas lights will brighten the St. Paul campus this year. The Nativity scene atop the arches has a history spanning more than 50 years. The present scene with lighted statues is a relatively recent acquisition compared to the tradition of a Christmas crèche on campus.
As long ago as 1948, campus clubs erected an outdoor Nativity scene for public enjoyment. About that time, Dr. Hugo Reny, a Vienna-born assistant professor of psychology, fashioned flat, hand-painted, plywood figures that were once displayed on the quad.
In 1950, a log-wall stage some eight feet high and five feet wide was constructed for the scene, which then was displayed on the veranda of Aquinas Hall. That display has since been replaced with more elaborate and lighted statues, and the Physical Plant staff erects the crèche where the entire community can see and enjoy it: on top of the landmark arches.