A new, finely crafted Nativity scene featuring 16 lifelike figures will be unveiled and blessed at Christmas Eve Mass in the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas on the St. Paul campus.
The crèche was created by the House of Fontanini in the village of Bagni di Lucca, Italy. Since 1908 the House of Fontanini has created old-world sculptures treasured by collectors and revered by worshipers all over the world. With detailed workmanship, Fontanini Nativities are composed of figures that provide a step back in time to biblical Bethlehem. The figures, up to 50 inches, are made of marble-based resin.
“This Nativity scene will be a treasure for the university for many years to come," said Father Larry Snyder, vice president for mission at St. Thomas. “It will enhance our chapel celebrations throughout the Christmas season and inspire people to think about the true meaning of Christmas.”
Emanuele Fontanini, a fourth-generation leader of the House of Fontanini, visited the chapel on Saturday to meet with St. Thomas leaders and the benefactors of the new crèche, Al and Brenda Iversen. The Iversens, of Minnetonka, are parents of Emily ’04 and Mackenzie, a St. Thomas junior.
While on campus, Fontanini signed four of the 16 pieces in the crèche collection: the Mary, Joseph, infant Jesus and angel figures.
The public is welcome to a blessing of the crèche Dec. 24 at the Christmas Eve Mass. Christmas music will start at 4:40 p.m. with Mass at 5 p.m.