The annual Christmas open house and Lessons & Carols were held once again at Mount St. Mary’s on Sunday, December 2. Each year during the open house, visitors are welcome to attend a guided tour throughout the entire seminary. The seminary’s social committee prepared for the event by providing numerous Christmas treats and cookies for the visitors. In addition, an annual Christmas decorating contest was held between the ten different residential halls in the seminary building. Over the years, the battle for the best decorated hall has become a hotly contested affair with the decorations becoming bigger and bigger every year. Three visiting friends of the Vice Rector of Pastoral Formation, Fr. Ken Brighenti, were the judges this year, and in the final analysis, the 3rd floor in McSweeney Hall was deemed the winner with 1st Mulcahy coming in second place. For the first time ever, a new “award” was given this year to the hall with the most deficient décor. In other words, any hall who refused to participate in the decoration extravaganza was assigned the “prize” of assisting the winning hall in cleaning up their decorations. This year, 1st Keating gained this undesirable award, though some skepticism has arisen among members of 1st Keating who claim their floor contained more substantial decorations than 2nd McSweeney. Of course, since the rector and other faculty outnumber seminarians on 2nd McSweeney, this accusation has largely fallen on deaf ears. Following the Christmas open house, the Mount community and visitors headed over to Immaculate Conception Chapel where the Advent Lessons & Carols were held at 4:30. The annual Advent Lessons & Carols are held annually in place of Sunday Solemn Vespers on the First Sunday of Advent. It was presided over by the rector, Msgr. Rohlfs, and consisted of six reading from Scripture and Tradition with corresponding hymns sung by the seminary’s Vesper Schola. This year, the Mount was privileged to have a great friend of the seminary, Mrs. Rosemarie Sappington of Libertytown, MD, deliver a speech detailing the profound impact her childhood pastor had on her as a young girl following the destruction of much of her native German country in World War II. Mrs. Sappington’s inspiring and very moving story was a great conclusion to the day’s festive events.