Lessons and Carols enjoyed by all

Lessons and Carols was held on Saturday, December 13, 2008 at 7:30 p.m.


Lessons and Carols is a special Advent service of nine Bible readings, choral music and caroling, that is a journey through the liturgical seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany.

During the medieval period Christmas caroling became popular and by the beginning of the fifteenth century, carol-singing had become an integral element of seasonal worship.

Though carols, indeed the celebration of Christmas itself, were banned in England by the Puritan regime of Oliver Cromwell during the seventeenth century, they were preserved and augmented in the New World, and eventually restored as a beloved tradition in Great Britain.

While the terms “carol” and “hymn” may occasionally overlap, the two genres are, in fact, different. Hymn texts tend to didacticism; while the purpose of the carol - one that stems from its medieval analogue, the mystery play - is narrative.

For unlettered folk of the Middle Ages, the carol, like a stained glass panel or a fresco tableau, depicted the momentous event of Christ’s Incarnation.

And, in honor of the saint who may well be called the father of the Christian ode to joy, Francis of Assisi, the nature of most carols is both joyous and reverential.

In the Christmas Tradition of the Great English Choirs, St. John Cantius Church of Chicago presents “A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols” annually on the eve of “Gaudete” Sunday (3rd Sunday of Advent).


Ding Dong Merrily on High
Arranged by Charles Wood (1866 – 1926)

I Wonder as I Wander
Appalachian Carol, Arr. John Jacob Niles (1892 – 1980) & Lewis Henry Horton

Resonet in Laudibus
Orlando di Lasso (1532 – 1594)

Videntes Stellam
Francis Poulenc (1899 – 1963)

William Byrd (1543 – 1623)

Lullay My Liking
Gustav Holst (1874 – 1934)

Jesus Christ the Apple Tree
Elizabeth Poston (1905 – 1987)

Burgundian Tune, attr. Bernard de la Monnoye (1641 – 1728)

O Magnum Mysterium
Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548 – 1611)

Tantum Ergo, Op. 10, No. 4
Maurice Duruflé (1902 – 1986)


Faces, young and old, filled St. John Cantius Church, for an evening of musical bliss.

This year’s ‘Lessons and Carols’ brought many guests to St. John Cantius. We would invite all of them to return for the Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.
Read more here…

St. John Cantius Church could never host ‘Lessons and Carols’ without our fabulous volunteers. God bless them for helping to make this year’s ‘Lessons and Carols’ a great success.

Things of Interest

Advent, Christmas, and St. Joseph

Lessons for Catholics at Christmastime

Articles on the Season of Advent

Christmas gifts from the Cantius Webstore