DePaul Prep to celebrate second annual Joyeux Noel Tree Lighting Ceremony: What you need to know

Colin Lindquist, Staff Writer

Tomorrow, December 9, 2021, the Joyeux Noel Tree Lightning Ceremony will begin at 3:00 PM. Although only in its second year of celebration, this ceremony is significant to the DePaul Prep community.

DePaul College Prep has a variety of Faith backgrounds. “We have students and faculty who are Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim, and we have some who have East Asian traditions as well, such as Buddhism,” explained Mary Dempsey, DePaul Prep’s President.

Many of these faiths have holidays around October, November, December, and January. Ms. Dempsey wanted to recognize not just the Catholic holiday of Christmas, but all holidays around this time, and so DePaul College Prep created our own event called Joyeux Noel. 

Joyeux Noel means “Merry Christmas” in French. Ms. Dempsey chose a French name for this event because St. Vincent DePaul and St. Louise de Marillac, DePaul Prep’s patron saints, were both French. St. Vincent DePaul and St. Louise de Marillac worked especially hard around the holiday times to help people in need. 

On the afternoon of December 9th, everyone at DePaul Prep is invited to Joyeux Noel to celebrate different faiths at our school and around the world. Parents and family members are invited as well. Students will gather in the dining hall to share pizza, make Christmas cards, and write advocacy letters.

Then at 4:00 pm, a program will begin in Commons. A few people will recite readings or poems, and then “we all go outside and we light the spruce trees that line the outside near the picnic tables,” Ms. Dempsey said. This is followed by the singing of Silent Night and fresh hot chocolate. 

Joyeux Noel is entirely voluntary to people if they want to come, Ms. Dempsey explained. For DePaul Prep’s students, it should be a time of renewal. It’s a unique opportunity for people of all faiths to come together and prepare for the bustling holiday season with a nice relaxing ceremony. 

The timing gives students a time to pause, especially right before finals week and holiday break. This event is like the lighting of DePaul’s Christmas tree, but for all faith practices. As Ms. Dempsey explained, it is a time for all of us to come together and “bring light into the darkness.”

Mr. Peterson is a great person to talk to for more information on this event, if you would like to know more.