When Pope Francis blessed a Nativity scene made by Guatemalan craftsmen on Dec. 3, it was the first time artists from that country had made such a display for use in the Vatican.
Mario Búcaro, Guatemala’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, led a delegation to the Vatican for the Nativity scene’s inauguration. Thirty artisans in Guatemala constructed the scene, which depicts the Baby Jesus with angels around him, as well as St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary wearing golden crowns.
Another Nativity scene, that one made of wood from alpine cedar trees that grow in Italy’s Friuli-Venezia Giulia, was also displayed at St. Peter’s Square.
National Catholic Register reports:
“It is the first time in history that our country presents a Nativity scene in the Vatican, a beautiful work of sacred art, personally delivered to Pope Francis and, therefore, also a gift from the people of Guatemala in anticipation of Christmas,” Búcaro said.
The Nativity scene was made by the combined effort of more than 30 artisans. It features the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, wearing large golden crowns, in a stable with the Baby Jesus surrounded by angels.
At the Nativity’s inauguration, Pope Francis explained that the scene tells of “the birth of the Son of God, who became man to be close to each of us.”
“In its genuine poverty, the Nativity scene helps us to rediscover the true richness of Christmas,” the Pope said.
“Simple and familiar, the Nativity scene recalls a different Christmas from the consumerist and commercial one. … It reminds us how good it is for us to cherish moments of silence and prayer in our days, which are often overwhelmed by frenzy.”
Pope Francis recommended silent prayer and contemplation of the Christ Child in a Nativity scene as an intimate experience of God’s humility and tenderness.
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