A (Belated) Christmas Grievance


Olivia Pasquale/Villanovan Photography

‘Nova’s Christmas decor impresses; can the same be said of the 2022 Christmas message?

Isabella Ledet, Staff Writer

One of Villanova’s greatest gifts of the holiday season is the community-wide email from University President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD wishing us all a joyous Christmas season. Even though it is no longer the holiday season, my despair about this past year’s Christmas email has reached into the new semester, until now, when I have an opportunity to air my grievance.

Why did Father Peter not sing in this year’s Christmas email?

Last year, when I received and opened the email, the last thing I was expecting was a Villanova rendition of “My Favorite Things” sung by the president of the University himself. It did not take me long after my arrival to Villanova to discover that our president held a PhD in musical theater. This intrigued me, but I never quite understood the scope of Father Peter’s love of music until his Christmas email. 

The email made me inexplicably joyous, got me into the Christmas spirit and genuinely impressed me. In fact, I favorited the email and saved it so I knew that Father Peter’s lovely song was never more than a few clicks away.

This year, my expectations were high. When the email was sent with a link to the video, I was ecstatic. I opened it the minute it was sent out and watched expectantly with a smile on my face. It was time for me to hear a new song.

But imagine my disappointment when I found no singing in this year’s Christmas message.

There is no explanation for this great let-down. Perhaps the president of the University had other matters to attend to and did not have time to record a singing message. Perhaps he could not think of a song to parody Villanova. Perhaps he was simply not in the mood to sing this year, though I would find this hard to believe. Whatever the reason, I was left unsatisfied when this year’s Christmas greeting concluded.

I only hope that the reason for the absence of Father Peter’s singing was not because he thinks no one appreciates it. “Raindrops on Mendel and sunrise on Higgins…” lives rent-free in my mind. The creativity, the talent – I only wish there could have been a sequel this Christmas season.

Villanova’s Christmas festivities are second to none, in my opinion. There is nothing more joyous during the holiday season than a campus completely decorated for Christmas. And on top of the decorations, we have the Christmas message. It is wonderful, of course, that our university president sends a Christmas message at all. Many – if not most – universities do not celebrate the holiday season at a level even close to that of Villanova. 

I appreciate the decorations. I appreciate the extra festivities. I appreciate that I was wished a merry Christmas from Father Peter. 

However, the only thing better than getting wished a merry Christmas is getting sung a merry Christmas. No gifts compare to the gift of song. I only hope that in the future there will be more singing Christmas greetings.

When things are not going so well or one needs a smile on their face, look no further than Father Peter’s 2021 Christmas Message. I often think of it myself. “When the twilight shadows gather, when I’m feeling sad, I simply recall [Father Peter’s song], and then I don’t feel so bad.”