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A lesson in gratitude

Christmas is the season” for giving is a common phrase. But at the Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos our donors are generous with their gifts all year long. Donations are essential to keeping our daily functions operating and everyone at the Retreat Center are deeply grateful to all our donors.

We wanted to show our appreciation to all our 2021-2022 donors in a tangible and meaningful way. Kim Manca, President for the Retreat Center Board of Directors, suggested Lessons & Carols, a meaningful compilation of Scripture and hymns that takes us through the Christmas story. Fr. Kevin Leidich, S.J., has been using Lesson & Carols in a retreat for a few years and agreed to be our guide through this journey into the Nativity.

There were about 40 guests who gathered for this occasion that included a lovely reception complimented by wine, cider, good food and great conversation. All guests were offered personalized ornaments.

Helping to bring the Lessons was Dr. Patricia Campbell, a Spiritual Director who gives The Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Living.

The carols were brought to us by the Choir, led by Katya Lohgoen with singers Geronimo Desumal, Daniel Martin, and Maryanne Stanislaw accompanied on piano by Terry Jelley. We were fortunate to have Ruth Brown, Jeri Daines, Chrysovalantou ”Chrisa” Faniku and Michelle LaForce, Bethlehem A.D. angels who danced the hymns. [By the way, this is the last year for Bethlehem A.D, the largest living Nativity in California. Visit for information about attending.]

We are so grateful for all the special assistance that made this wonderful event possible. Our volunteers Sr. Patricia Geoghegan , D.C, greeted our guests. Heida Earnest provided pumpkin bread. Mavis Moon helped to get everything up and running, assisted the choir and pitch hit as the photographer.

Fr. Chi Ngo, S.J., our Executive Director led us in opening prayer. Our Controller Rosemary Generali assisted the dancers. Accountant Angela Zavala along with Amalia Abberton provided free gift-wrapping services. Bookstore Manager Mary McCarty was on hand. Administrative Assistant Janine Howe created beautiful, personalized ornaments. Felicia Silveira and our Kitchen Staff created beautiful and yummy refreshments and Larry Ambriz made sure we had all we needed for set up.

We want to thank our Communications Specialist Pooja Jain who spent countless hours coordinating logistics, invitations and making sure we were ready.

The most important group we want to thank are our donors and supporters, an integral part of making sure the Retreat Center continues to operate.

Please enjoy these photos and videos from Lessons & Carols.

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