As an integral part of Mojácar Council’s Christmas events, the annual service for the reading of the Nine Lessons and Christmas Carols was recently held in the town’s Santa María Parish Church, bringing together the Catholic and Anglicans for a cultural exchange.
The service was officiated by the Catholic Church’s Parish Priest, Miguel José Esteban Jerez, along with Reverend Gerry Reilly. Gerry, although already retired, continues to make Catholic and Anglican spiritual retreats and during December he will be officiating at the San Pascual Anglican Church.
Also present, were María Luisa Pérez, Councillor to the Mayor’s Office, Lucas Mayo, Citizen Services Councillor for Non-Spanish Speakers, Raquel Belmonte, Councillor for Culture and Ana García, Councillor for Education.
The old Anglican Advent tradition of The Nine Lessons and Christmas Carols dates back to 1880, when Edward White Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury, created the service for Christmas Eve in Cornwall, going on to be a popular event throughout the world today.
Catholics traditionally perform readings on the four Sundays of Advent, but in Mojácar they also join together with others for this very endearing act of religious coexistence, devotion and joy.
The Nine Readings, interspersed with traditional carols and choral music, begin with Genesis and end with the Gospel of Luke, following the story of the man’s fall, the promise of a new covenant and the coming of a Messiah culminating in the birth of Jesus Christ.
Both priests closed their readings, in Spanish and English, with the prologue of Saint John. The carols were performed in both languages also, by the Escálamo and Embrujo Mojaquero Choirs and members of the Anglican Church.
The event, as always, drew a large multinational congregation, all coming together to celebrate Advent time and, bringing a festive and joyful touch to the special days that lead up to Christmas.