Preparations for Christmas on St. Peter’s Square

Source: FSSPX News

On the Third Sunday of Advent, December 12, Benedict XVI addressed the pilgrims who had gathered to pray the Angelus on St. Peter’s Square, emphasizing “the value of perseverance and patience”.  As the Supreme Pontiff sees it, these virtues, which were part of the normal cultural baggage of our parents, seems less popular today, in a world that glorifies change instead and the ability to adapt to ever new and different situations.  “Advent,” he continued, “calls us to develop that interior tenacity and that spiritual resistance which enable us not to despair while awaiting a good that delays in coming but rather to await it and even to prepare for its coming with active confidence.”

The pope then explained that “the comparison with the farmer was very significant, because someone who has sown in the field has several months of patient, steadfast waiting ahead of him.”  “The farmer is not a fatalist,” he added, “but rather the model of a mentality that combines faith and reason in a balanced way, because, on the one hand, he knows the laws of nature and does his work well and, on the other hand, he has trust in Providence, for some fundamental things are not under his control but in God’s hands.”

On that Third Sunday of Advent, two thousand Roman children were present for the traditional blessing of the figurines representing the Infant Jesus that they will place in the crib of the Nativity scene of their families, schools or parishes.  Benedict XVI asked them to “pray for the pope and his intentions” when they lay the Infant Jesus in the manger on Christmas Eve.

For several weeks now a life-size Nativity scene has been under construction on St. Peter’s Square.  A tall barricade of burlap masks the huge construction site located at the base of the obelisk at the center of St. Peter’s Square.  Perched on scaffolding, Vatican employees are building the structure that will house the crèche.  The representation of the Nativity will occupy a little more than 300 square meters [about 360 square yards] and will be unveiled on the evening of December 24.  John Paul II had decided in 1982 that a giant Nativity scene should be set up on the Square.

In addition to the figures from the Roman Basilica of San Andrea della Valle, this year there will be nine statues donated by the Republic of the Philippines.  For several years now statues of angels from Mexico have also been featured alongside the figures of the Nativity scene designed by Saint Vincent Pallotti (1795-1850) in 1842.

The Vatican’s Christmas tree was set up next to the obelisk and the crèche under construction, very early on the morning of December 3.  The immense, 94-year-old evergreen, which is 34 meters [112 feet] tall and weighs 5 metric tons, was donated by the Italian province of Bolzano; it comes from the forests of the little village of Lusson, not far from Bressanone, in the region of Trentin-Haut-Adige.  The December 3 issue of the Italian edition of L’Osservatore Romano noted that this fir tree is decorated with 3,000 gold and silver balls, 1,500 white and yellow lights as well as a large star.  On December 17 in the late afternoon, Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, President of the Governorate of Vatican City State, presided at the inauguration ceremony for the Christmas tree, which is located beneath the windows of the papal apartments.

On December 25 at noon Benedict XVI will pronounce the Urbi et Orbi message (addressed to the city of Rome and to the world) from the central loggia of the Vatican Basilica.  Then he will deliver his Christmas message and extend greetings to the faithful throughout the world in more than sixty languages.  (Sources: VIS/Apic/Imedia – DICI n° 227 du 18/12/10)