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Christmas Carol Contest

Song book
Holy Archangels Parish

By Fr. Gabriel Rojas


In the diocese of Carabayllo (Peru) the Christmas carol contest is becoming customary for Christmas holidays. Every parish is invited to participate with its parish choir for these festivities. This is an activity that brings together many ecclesial people and awakens a lot of expectations at local levels through social networks such as Facebook. It is emotional as well as a challenge, a responsibility, and a sacrifice to be able to participate in this contest in a productive way.

This contest consists of two major phases: the first is to deliver the video mix of songs to compete live. This Christmas mix should have three songs of different genres. The video has to reach enough “likes” on social media to qualify and move on to the second phase. The goal is to be among the first four places, which will have to play and sing live before an audience and a professional jury that will qualify them on the date scheduled by the organizers. In this second phase it is defined which choir reaches first, second, third, and fourth place.

Our Columban parish “Holy Archangels” has been participating in this Christmas contest in the diocese of Carabayllo for five consecutive years. And every year it occupies one of the top places. To me, this is always a moment of joy and commitment to continue encouraging the musical talents that exists in our parish, but at the same time the goal is to reach first place in the competition.

Holy Archangels Choir members distribute food aid.
Holy Archangels Choir members distribute food aid.

This is a musical project because it invites us to think about how are we are going to present ourselves for the Christmas contest, the criteria to select the songs, and to find out who is available for the project. All of this takes a while for serious preparation. At some point, we may experience some discouragement, but we recover our strength and enthusiasm once we realize that the contest is not only to fulfill expectations or win a prize but to help the vulnerable people of our parish.

In the last two years, we have taken second place. Believe me, it is very exciting to be able to hear that the name of our parochial choir has been classified to move on to the second phase of the competition. And, with the prize money that we acquired from our contest, we support the most vulnerable families in our parish by giving them basic necessities.

The carol contest allows us to joyfully go out to meet the vulnerable people in our parish.

In the second phase, it is a great joy to see our choir playing the instruments and singing. And when a financial prize is acquired, we buy the food and each member of our parish choir can deliver the basic basket of food to a vulnerable family. It is a moment of evangelization to go out to meet the needy.

With the amount obtained in the Christmas holidays of 2022, for the feast of Epiphany or Three Kings year 2023, we have benefited 32 vulnerable families in the area of Tayacaja, Casuarinas, Pan de Azúcar y Girasoles.

For many choir members and as a missionary who has been part of the contest, this experience of caring for the poor from a social perspective is an experience of joy, but at the same time, it is an invitation to continue sharing our talents by playing instruments or singing in the different chapels or our parish.

The carol contest allows us to joyfully go out to meet the vulnerable people in our parish.

Columban Fr. Gabriel Rojas Cruzado lives and works in Peru.