Saint Leo University Begins Christmas Season With Blessing of Nativity, Tree

Posted inEducationLocal NewsSaint Leo University

ST. LEO, FL – Saint Leo University kicked off the Christmas season at the university’s annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the main campus on November 27.

Father Kyle Smith, university chaplain, read the Christmas story from gospel of Luke:

“In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled.

This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.

And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

Smith blessed the Christmas tree and the university’s Nativity, leading the Saint Leo community in prayer as it prepared for Advent.

Music was provided by students Olivia Callahan and Allie Losee and Dr. Cynthia Selph, director of the university’s music program. Lucas Nocera, music minister for University Ministry, played keyboard and led everyone in Christmas carols.

On a chilly night, students, faculty, and staff enjoyed Christmas cookies and treats to cap the evening.

Photos by Cameron Wallace, The Lion’s Pride Media Group

2018 Blessing of the Nativity and Tree at Saint Leo University

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University ( is a modern Catholic teaching university that is firmly grounded in the liberal arts tradition and the timeless Benedictine wisdom that seeks balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit. The Saint Leo University of today is a private, nonprofit institution that creates hospitable learning communities wherever students want to be or need to be, whether that is a campus classroom, a web-based environment, an employer’s worksite, a military base, or an office park. Saint Leo welcomes people of all faiths and of no religious affiliation, and encourages learners of all generations. The university is committed to providing educational opportunities to the nation’s armed forces, veterans, and their families. Saint Leo is regionally accredited to award degrees ranging from the associate to the doctorate, and the faculty and staff guide all students to develop their capacities for critical thinking, moral reflection, and lifelong learning and leadership.


The university remains the faithful steward of the beautiful lakeside University Campus in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, where its founding monks created the first Catholic college in the state in 1889. Serving nearly 12,000 students, Saint Leo has expanded to downtown Tampa, to other sites in Florida and beyond, and maintains a physical presence in seven states. The university provides highly respected online learning programs to students nationally and internationally. More than 93,000 alumni reside in all 50 states, in Washington, DC, in three U.S. territories, and in 76 countries.