EMMITSBURG, MD (Nov. 10, 2023) – The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton will host a variety of Christmas programs in November and December to celebrate the holiday season. Visitors are invited to join Mother Seton, the first native-born American to be canonized, her Sisters, St. Joseph’s School students, local community choirs and more to celebrate this joyous season with events for the whole family.
To kick off the season on November 24, the Seton Shrine’s Season of Charity Candlelight Tours will immerse participants in a living history experience of the Advent season in 1818. Costumed interpreters will lead a walking tour through Mother Seton’s historic homes, each decorated for Christmas, as students and Sisters prepare gifts for nearby families in need.
In the spirit of giving, the Seton Shrine invites visitors to join support the Emmitsburg Food Bank. Donations can be made on-site or brought during the Candlelight Tour, where the Sisters of Charity and St. Joseph’s School students assemble baskets of essential items for the local community. Needed items include shampoo, pantry staples, snacks and more. To buy tickets to a Candlelight Tour, visit www.setonshrine.org/candlight-tours/.
The Seton Shrine’s Christmas Concert Series will continue the holiday celebration with five unique programs from December 1 through December 9. They are:
Dec. 2 at 7pm: Seasons Irish Concert
Dec. 3 at 4pm: Emmitsburg Community Choir Concert
Dec. 8 at 7pm: Lessons and Carols*
Dec. 9 at 3pm: Gettysburg Choral Society Concert
* The Festival or Service of Lessons and Carols was invented in the 19th century as a way for the faithful to prepare for Christmas by reflecting on salvation history and singing and listening to Advent music. Our version of this service also includes writing from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Come join us for readings, meditations, and music that will help us enter more fully into the Advent season in preparation for Christmas.
The Seton Shrine will culminate its 2023 Christmas season by celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ with a Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Mass in the Basilica. Christmas Eve Mass will begin at 7:00 p.m. on December 24, and Christmas Day Mass will start at 11:00 a.m. on December 25.
Visitors to the Shrine this Christmas season will also be able to visit the new museum and visitors center that opened in September. The museum traces the life and legacy of this critically important figure in the history of the Catholic Church in America with interactive exhibits and rarely seen artifacts.
For more information about how to attend the Candlelight Tours, Christmas Concert Series or Christmas Eve and Day Mass, visit www.setonshrine.org/events/.
The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, Md., is a place of God and of history, where visitors can walk in the footsteps of a saint. The Shrine offers pilgrims prayerful comfort from Mother Seton’s story and her intercessions as a friend in heaven. It is an active Basilica and has a wide range of historical buildings and programs that show what life was like when Mother Seton lived here more than 200 years ago. It was here that she founded the first community of religious women established in the U.S., created the first free Catholic school for girls staffed by sisters in the U.S. and fulfilled her mission of serving those in need. Today, her legacy includes several religious communities with thousands of sisters, who serve others through schools, social service centers and hospitals throughout the world. She was canonized in 1975. Her remains are entombed at the National Shrine that bears her name. For more information, please visit https://setonshrine.org/.