Church choir spreads holiday cheer

Once a year, merry carolers from St. Helen Catholic Church join voices to delight homebound parishioners. Now, ten years after she first spearheaded the effort, St. Helen’s choir director Denise Ramirez invites non-parishioners, friends, and families to help the carolers spread joy to the world.

What is your favorite part of caroling?

It has been very rewarding to see people’s reactions when they realize that this whole group has come to their house just for them. We feel like it’s our way of sharing our community with those people who are unable to come to the community. It lets them know they’re not forgotten.

Where do you typically go caroling?

Our homebound ministry at St. Helen—a ministry that goes every Sunday to visit these different people—provides us with a list of homebound parishioners, and we caravan directly to their houses. I usually try to coordinate with the homebound ministry to let the residents of the houses know that we’ll be coming so that it’s not a surprise to them.

How many houses do you reach?

We try to go to six to eight houses. My hope would be that, if we could get enough people to participate in this effort, we could have several independent groups and cover more houses.

How often does your group carol?

We carol every year, sometime in the month of December, usually on a Saturday or a Sunday during the day. We probably sing three or four carols per house, and we always close with “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

Do you have to be a great singer to join?

We try to focus more on the ministry of singing for people instead of having the music be beautifully polished. So it’s pretty laid back. We don’t do any rehearsals in advance, but we do provide song sheets.

Can children join as well?

We’ve had some young children participate in the last couple years. So you don’t even have to be an adult to join, as long as you have adult supervision. My granddaughter started when she was about four.

What’s your favorite Christmas carol?

That’s hard to say. I think it’s “Joy to the World.”

How can people get involved?

The best way would be to contact our church office at 512-863-3041 or email church@sainthelens.org. Anyone is welcome to join; you don’t have to attend St. Helen.

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