Writer’s Recap: Lasallian Christmas spirit rekindled at ‘Animo Christmas! 2022’

After two years of Christmas festivities online, the University opened its gates to the Lasallian community once again for the opening of the much-awaited Animo Christmas! 2022, which was held on campus last December 2. More than 1,000 members of the Lasallian community—as estimated by the Office of the Vice President for Lasallian Mission—gathered as they joyfully partook in the holiday festivities and rekindled the lively Animo Christmas spirit.

With the theme “Mabuhay Ka, Hesus!”, this year’s holiday festivities highlighted Jesus at its core—uniting communities through faith and festivities. Lasallians were encouraged to indulge themselves in the merriment brought by this year’s face-to-face celebration, while reflecting on the deeper meaning behind the holidays. As an event that held much anticipation, Animo Christmas! 2022 becomes not only a continuation of De La Salle University’s annual Christmas tradition, but rather a fresh start from the pandemic to reconnect with the communal spirit of a Lasallian Christmas. 

Rejuvenating the holiday’s essence

The month-long event opened with a Eucharistic celebration at the Cory Aquino Democratic Space. Officiated by Assistant University Chaplain Rev. Fr. Alex Mijangcos LC, the mass elaborated this year’s theme and echoed the Lasallian message of how Jesus lives in everyone’s hearts.

Vice President for Lasallian Mission Fritzie de Vera welcomed Lasallians to this year’s Christmas celebration through recounting the Animo Christmas! programs held online for the past two years, highlighting the lingering hope and faith that Lasallians had as they now celebrate their return to campus. De Vera also encouraged the Lasallian community to find bliss in the gifts we receive in life, by conveying that “this year’s theme…affirms God’s presence and encourages all members of our community to allow God to dwell in our hearts in all circumstances as we celebrate the birth of our savior.” 

A talent show was also held during the opening program, which featured a dance rendition of APO Hiking Society’s Tuloy na Tuloy Pa Rin ang Pasko from the DLSU-Parents of University Students Organization, a sing-and-dance medley from DLSU Senior High School students, and a contemporary dance number from the DLSU External Services Providers—the lattermost receiving a P12,000 cash prize after being hailed as the show’s best performer.

University President Br. Bernard Oca FSC expressed the “joy in family and in community” that lingered through the University grounds as he shared his hopes for the Lasallian community. “My dream for all of us is that Jesus truly lives in our hearts…lalong lalo na sa Paskong ito…so experience Jesus with one another,” Oca said.

(…especially during this Christmas…) 

Spectacle of lights and sounds

Finally, the time came for the highlight of the Animo Christmas! celebration: the Christmas tree lighting ceremony. The countdown was led by Oca, who was joined by de Vera and Provost Dr. Robert Roleda. Members of the Lasallian community gathered around the lit-up Christmas tree, adorned with bright lanterns that illuminated the Henry Sy Sr. Hall Grounds. As people took time to appreciate and capture the momentous event, the community was serenaded by members of De La Salle Innersoul, De La Salle University Chorale, and the Lasallian Youth Orchestra in a collaborative performance of their harmonious rendition of Ang Pasko ay Sumapit. 

The audience was then invited to gather in front of the St. La Salle Hall where an enchanting lights and sound show was displayed on facade. Students watched in awe as the embellished facade of the St. La Salle Hall was lit up in different colors, which were synchronized with a medley of Christmas classics to bring in the magical and joyous mood for the year’s Christmas festivities.

Christmas medley

After the lights and sound show, the Lasallian Youth Orchestra took to the stage again to treat the audience to a short concert, serenading the crowd with calm and peaceful music that filled the atmosphere and enveloped the Lasallian community in tranquility. 

The softness of the music inspired the crowd into a gentle moment of resting, pausing, and reflecting—encouraging them to let go of the agitations and the weariness from the day. The scene then transitioned into cheerfulness as the Green Music Collective performed Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas, followed by Wham!’s Last Christmas

The DLSU Chorale further added to the Christmas spirit with their angelic voices. Belting out a rendition of Victor C. Johnson’s African Noel, their harmonies gradually filled up the atmosphere, immersing the whole Lasallian community in the nativity of Jesus. After a final “Sing, Noel!”, a powerful silence engulfed the area. Shortly after, the chorale once again serenaded the audience with mellow melodies, captivating the crowd with their seraphic voices and ending on an adagio with Ryan Cayabyab’s Munting Sanggol

As the final performance of the night, De La Salle Innersoul delivered a heartfelt rendition of Boris Gardiner’s The Meaning of Christmas to the crowd. Truly, the whole performance was a testament to the united spirit of the Lasallian community and coming together again after two years of separation to celebrate love, joy, and peace this Christmas season. 

A celebration of Christ’s love 

As the music faded, the Christmas tree, adorned with lanterns, was opened for Lasallians to enjoy its cozy interior and decorations. 

The Christmas spirit was not only limited to holiday decor within the campus—extending the love and joy beyond the Lasallian community, the facade’s lights show is scheduled to dazzle from 6 pm to midnight, while the accompanying melodies will be played at 9 pm and 10 pm, until the end of the term. 

Additionally, the Christmas Online Show under the DLSU Institutional Christmas Family Celebration was held last December 7, at 5 pm. Meanwhile, the Christmas Bazaar is ongoing until December 9, and is located at the SJ Walk, Velasco Walk, Yuchengco Lobby, Marian Quadrangle, and in the Central Plaza. In the Laguna campus, the Christmas Bazaar is found at the MRR Roadside. 

As times inch closer to Christmas day, the University will hold its Simbang Gabi at 5:30 am at Henry Sy Sr. Hall Grounds. The Christmas Eve Mass will also be held in the same location, at 8 pm. 

Animo Christmas! 2022 has proven that the Christmas spirit is indeed still alive in the University. More than just being an event, it was a celebration of the reunion with fellow Lasallians to commemorate these experiences. Beyond the holidays, reminders like these inspire the whole Lasallian community to look forward to 2023 inspired with love for one another, and coupled with faith in God, this ignites hope for a more fruitful future ahead. 

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By Crysha Juliana Dela Pena

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