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Giant tree due for Vatican Christmas celebration; creche will include migrants’ boat

November 11, 2016

A giant spruce tree, a gift from the Italian province of Trent, will be the centerpiece of the Christmas display in St. Peter’s Square this year, the Vatican has announced.

Each year the Vatican accepts a tree from a different European region. This year’s tree will come from the Lagorai forest. Along with the 82-foot tree that will be illuminated in St. Peter’s Square, the Vatican will also receive a number of small trees to be displayed in offices.

The creche scene for St. Peter’s Square will come this year from Malta, where artist Manwel Grech won a competition to design the display. Grech will produce a Nativity scene featuring 17 human figures, dressed in traditional Maltese costume.

In an innovation reflecting the intense concern that Pope Francis has shown for immigrants, the creche scene will also include a small boat, of a traditional Maltese type. A Vatican announcement said that the boat would represent “the realities of migrants who in those very waters sail on makeshift boats to Italy.”

 
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