Tree-lighting event features parade, prayer

ROCHESTER — Iliana Caletz wants a bow and arrow for Christmas.

But the 10-year-old fifth-grader at Henry Lomb School No. 20 also is quick to expound on the reason for the season.

"The real meaning of Christmas is to give, to get, to love and to celebrate God’s birthday, Jesus’ birthday," she said before the annual tree lighting at the St. Michael Church parking lot at the corner of North Clinton and Clifford avenues.

Caletz had her recorder in hand to play and sing three carols with her classmates. The songs, which also were led by second-graders from Martin Luther King Jr. School 9, followed a parade that featured police cars from the Rochester, Greece and Irondequoit departments and Santa Claus sitting atop a Rochester Fire Department truck.

And the kids were even happier to see him when he began showering candy upon them.

Father Laurence Tracy issue a warning to the children about eating well and exercising before saying a prayer to kick off the tree-lighting event.

Like the tree, "may we always shine and never give into the darkness," he said.

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