The Armchair Liturgist: Church Creche

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Brigid had asked for an armchair liturgist spot on Advent wreath. I thought I had done that last year. But as it turns out, I didn’t. This feature isn’t quite a year old, only going back to January 2006.

So let me ask you what you would do with the Christmas nativity scene in your parish:

- Where would you put it: in the nave or sanctuary? Outside or in the vestibule?

- Would you be “literal” by not including the Magi until Epiphany?

- Would your priest bless the creche, and if so, would he do it more than once, or just at the early Mass?

Remember, unlike some internet sites in which you are asked to tattle on what you heard and saw at Mass, here you get to sit in the Big Chair and be the Big Bad Liturgist yourself.

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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3 Responses to The Armchair Liturgist: Church Creche

  1. Anne says:

    We move our patron saint out of her little alcove off the nave and she remains in the vestibule throughout the Christmas season. The creche is set up, gradually during the last week of Advent in that alcove. All characters,including kings, are there except for the infant who is put in place (unceremoniously) just before the first vigil mass. We don’t have a blessing but we do encourage people to visit and reflect. We set up a couple of kneelers for this purpose.

  2. At one parish we have it in front of the Mary altar, unfortunately, obscuring Mary; at the other, we have it in the apse, behind the altar. With the tabernacle to one side, there is no other good place for it.

    At both places, the kings have not come out yet.

    At the south parish, a family brought forward il Bambino and then all the lights came on. At the north parish, they brought forward the Holy Family, had a song for the event. Don’t know about the lights.

    I blessed the creche at the 4 pm Mass (at the south parish); the vicar blessed the creche at the north parish at 6pm; I have no idea what the retired priest did at midnight. I would only bless it at one Mass. I could be persuaded to do it at Midnight, but I think that would disappoint folks.

  3. Liam says:

    - Where would you put it: in the nave or sanctuary? Outside or in the vestibule?

    : Preferably not in the sanctuary. But not violently so. Otherwise, it should be placed where it can be seen and where people may kneel, in quiet, in devotional prayer before it. That argues against a vestibule (where chatting and busy-ness are supposed to happen instead of in the nave) and for some place in the nave, former side altars.

    - Would you be “literal” by not including the Magi until Epiphany?

    : No. Christmas, like Easter, is not a historical recreation. We celebrate the entire Incarnation mystery in the season.

    - Would your priest bless the creche, and if so, would he do it more than once, or just at the early Mass?

    : Yes. Once. At or before the early Mass (I have no objection to the blessing occuring in the interval when the creche is completed, a-liturgically, as it were).

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