Holy Redeemer parish’s “Keeping Christ in Christmas” float won best community float in the 2012 Pickering Santa Claus Parade. Photo by Charlie Johnson

Bringing Christ back to Christmas

By 
  • November 16, 2012

PICKERING, ONT. - The youth of Holy Redeemer parish believe Christ is what Christmas is about, and it showed at Pickering’s Santa Claus Parade on Nov. 10.

The parish’s youth group entered its Keeping Christ in Christmas float in the annual parade this year.

The 23-metre-long float carried about 50 volunteers and included three key scenes. The choir of volunteers and the CFC-Youth For Family and Life GTA Music Ministry band were the angels of heaven, singing praise through traditional Christmas songs and upbeat Christian music. A traditional creche with the baby Jesus made up the second scene. And the third, a fireside family scene — Christmas tree included — had a mother and father telling the true story of Christmas to their kids.

The float, which was created as a witness to the Year of Faith, was the idea of Caroline Dupuis, who pitched it to her 16-year-old daughter Emma, Emma’s friends and parishioners.

Emma helped her mother oversee the entire project.

“I think especially in our society, Christmas has lost its true meaning,” Emma said,adding Christ has been lost in the secularization of the season.

“Without Jesus, nothing else really matters,” said Emma. “He came and it’s time to celebrate Him.”

Spreading the Catholic faith, encouraging community involvement and being a witness to others were some of the reasons for creating the float.

When she suggested the float’s theme, “Some people thought, ‘Oh my goodness, you’re crazy,’ ” said Emma.

Holy Redeemer pastor Fr. Morosco Lett and others in the parish community weren’t among those, and were very supportive of the youth group’s effort. The parish donated about $750 while the trailer was donated by a parishioner.

“A lot of the big things are being donated to us by generous people. So that’s helped immensely or we wouldn’t have funds to put something like this together,” she said.

Another parishioner built baby Jesus’ stable free of charge, and a construction team of volunteers put the rest of the float together.

“They’re all big strong men who are getting up at 6:30 in the morning on Saturday to help put all of the pieces together and to nail down the stable and everything,” said Emma.

With volunteers of varying age, the youngest being age five, Emma hoped kids watching the parade would see the float and think that “kids like me and kids my age or even older get excited about this kind of stuff.”

In turn, Emma would like this to inspire more youth to be involved and to know that “It’s not about Santa Claus and the presents,” but about Jesus too.

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