The Nuncio remembers Christmas in Italy

001I loved working on this story now up at B.C. Catholic.

Canada’s Papal Nuncio Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi remembers, when he was 5, his Aunt Rosa giving him some “little statues to make the crib” or Nativity scene.

“For us Christmas means the Christmas crib,” he said. In the 1950s, people did not have Christmas trees. Instead “there was a contest within the village of who was making the better crib.”

“But of course, in order to make the better crib, you have to have numbers of good statues,” he said.

The figures were made of clay. His father, a carpenter, built a little stable. In order to prepare the nativity scene, they would go to the nearby mountains to collect moss to make a luminous, fresh, green carpet for the crŠche that was about a metre and a half wide and a half a meter deep.

Every year, his parents gave the children one or two statues among the Christmas gifts.

“When I was eight or nine there was already a good number of statues, which we used to dispose in a different way every year,” he said. His mother left the children to “create every year our little fantasy.”

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