According to Fr. James Ruggieri, pastor of St. Patrick Church, the tree lighting will begin at 5 p.m. with a prayer service on the front lawn of the church, located at 244 Smith St. The service will be led by Bishop Tobin, and will be followed by the singing of Christmas carols.
“The idea is to light a Christmas tree, not a holiday tree,” said Fr. Ruggieri. “It’s to call attention to the true meaning of Christmas, which exists because of Christ’s birth.”
Rep. Doreen M. Costa, (R—Exeter, North Kingstown), who sponsored a resolution passed by lawmakers in January, declaring the annual State House tree to be called a “Christmas tree and not a ‘holiday tree’ or any other non-traditional terms.”
Costa, a parishioner of St. Francis de Sales Church, North Kingstown, said, “I think that the governor has overstepped his bounds. This is one way of keeping Christ out of Christmas and I won’t allow that.”
The lawmaker added that there would be a “Christmas tree lighting” outside of her office, Room 106, on Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. She asked those attending to bring nonperishable food items to be distributed to local food pantries.
Joseph Cavanagh, a Pawtucket attorney, asked, "Is there really any question that Dec 25th is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ?”
Cavanagh argued that civilization has used the Christmas tree for centuries to remind people of “that momentous event which forever changed the world.
“Why then does our governor insist on ignoring reality as he unfortunately does with so many other fundamental issues, such as marriage and abortion, the intentional killing of defenseless children?” Cavanagh questioned.
Cavanagh emphasized that members of the faith community need to pray, then act, to stop the spread of “dangerous secularism, which the governor espouses.
“The notion of a "holiday" tree is sad nonsense,” he said.
Printed with permission from the Rhode Island Catholic, newspaper for the Diocese of Providence, R.I.
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