Catholic Sentinel photo by Clarice Keating
After 25 years, the Grotto’s Festival of Lights has become part of families’ holiday traditions.
Catholic Sentinel photo by Clarice Keating
After 25 years, the Grotto’s Festival of Lights has become part of families’ holiday traditions.
A favorite family holiday tradition turns 25 this year – the Grotto’s Festival of Lights.

Since 1988, the staff at the Catholic sanctuary, plus an army of volunteers, have coordinated the colorful and musical light show.

Servite Father Jack Topper, executive director of the Grotto, is there through it all – a blinking light attached to his coat as he helps volunteers direct traffic.

“At times it seems incredible that 25 years have passed since we first turned on the lights for this festival and our chapel first rang with the angelic sounds of countless choirs,” Father Topper said.  

This year’s event features 179 music concerts and five shows a night, running 37 consecutive nights, ending on New Year’s Eve day, Sunday, Dec. 30.

“Throughout the festival, each visitor encounters the good news of Christmas in countless ways: Through the sweet music of choirs and carolers in the chapel or in the plaza, through the laughter of children as they delight in puppet shows, through the quiet beauty of Christmas lights amid towering trees in the winter darkness,” Father Topper said.