LaSalette Christmas lights to bring ‘Hope & Joy’ to visitors
The LaSalette of Enfield Christmas Light Display has been bringing “Hope & Joy” to the Upper Valley for more than 65 years, and the light show will go on even during the Covid-19 pandemic, but Vermonters will have to follow current protocols for traveling out of state.
More than 400 hours of effort — both paid and volunteer — are required to get the hillside ready for the moment when Marist Father John Sullivan, shrine director, moves the switch to the “on” position.
The electric cost estimated at $6,000 is borne by the area’s business sponsors and friends of LaSalette who have long supported the shrine.
The lights will provide a moment or evening of “joy” amid the darkness of the times that people throughout the world are experiencing.
But, in respect to keeping visitors and volunteers/workers safe and reducing cost, the lights will not be illuminated on Monday and Tuesday evenings.
Rick Smith is in charge of maintenance at the shrine and has been putting up the lights for the past 18 years. But numerous volunteers help screw in the more than 100,000 colored bulbs, each one to bring “Hope & Joy” to visitors.
The preparation begins just after the celebration of the Apparition of Mary at LaSalette, Sept. 19, and culminates with the lighting during the weekend after Thanksgiving.
Great care will be taken to keep visitors safe and to maintain the guidelines put forth by the State of New Hampshire during the pandemic. Social distancing and face masks will be required while on the grounds; visitors also can view the lights from their cars.
The light display will be illuminated through Jan. 3.
The Shrine Gift & Bookstore will be open Wednesday to Sunday while the light display is on.
LaSalette Shrine is located at 410 Route 4A, Enfield, New Hampshire.
For more information go to lasaletteofenfield.org.
— John Markowitz, public affairs for LaSalette
—Originally published in the Winter 2020 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.