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Christmas Pageant - Friday, Dec. 19th, 7:30pm

Faith In Brooklyn for Dec. 11

The children rehearse the blocking for the Nativity scene. Eagle Photo by Francesca Norsen Tate

The children rehearse the blocking for the Nativity scene. Eagle Photo by Francesca Norsen Tate

By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 11, 2014

Whole Neighborhood Shares a Role In Assumption Church’s Pageant

Church pageants give children the chance to present their creative take on the meaning of Christmas. What distinguishes the pageant at Assumption Roman Catholic Church in Brooklyn Heights is that children from many of the neighborhood schools create the production together, from script through performance.

For the past 14 years, children from Church of the Assumption, on Cranberry Street, have produced the Annual Christmas Pageant. Parishioner Heather Leykam blocks out time from her hectic schedule as a school principal to direct this production each year. She devotes her time, energy and passion to “letting the kids be who they are,” as she told INBrooklyn.

The Assumption parish hall was teeming recently with children grabbing a quick snack of grapes before trying on costumes, as Leykam guided them during a stage blocking.

“It really started a few years ago, when [former pastor] Father Carrano had gotten the parish hall renovated. They wanted a place for the youth ministry to start in the neighborhood, so the kids had a place to come celebrate who they were. You can’t really sing ‘Silent Night’ in the public schools,” Leykam said.

Since then, the pageant has grown “to encompass all kids in the neighborhood, and kids who go to private school and public school — people who are in the religious ed program,” Leykam said. All told, about 40 children from area schools and churches, including Packer, P.S. 8, M.S. 8 and Plymouth Church, participate.

“And it was a beautiful way to come together as a community. The best part of it really is for the audience — their friends and neighbors — to be there for each other,” she added

One of the joyful aspects of Assumption’s tradition is that children of different ages play together.

“Our high school kids, who graduated from the CCD program, all come back. And they’re the ones who really make it magical,” Leykam said. “So, I have all the kids who graduate, who want to give back to all the little kids. They all come back to support each other. The script is written every year, and we write it with the kids. This year, it’s based on the story of Scrooge — the story of Christmas past, Christmas present, Christmas future. It’s how one little kid is going to find the meaning of Christmas, and about believing in things we can’t see.”

Leykam continued, “That’s what our Scrooge character finds out this year. It ends with a smash-bang production of the Nativity. We do upbeat versions of Christmas carols. We do a balletic version of ‘Silent Night.’ Everyone must come.”

Annmarie, a parent, said, “Heather’s passion for this particular project is relentless. It is a joy to see these children flourish under her direction. Their enthusiasm is infectious. It is obvious that the children get so much enjoyment from what they are doing. The kids range in age from 4 years to teenage. They begin rehearsal in October, putting in four hours a week and more towards the big night.”

Other parents volunteering with the pageant concur.

“The older kids really look out for the younger ones,” said one mother named Tara.

And Richard pointed out that his own children’s participation has brought him back to his Catholic faith.

This year’s pageant will be presented on Friday, Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m. The Assumption Parish Hall is in the undercroft of the church at 55 Cranberry St., between Hicks and Henry streets.


 


Parish Mission Satement

We, the Parish Family of Assumption Church,

under the patronage of Mary the Mother of God,

proclaim our faith in the message and mission of Jesus Christ.

We celebrate that faith through Word, Eucharist, and Evangelization.

We live that Faith by coming together to share our diverse gifts

in service and support for the members of our community.

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