Precious Christmas memories

by Carol Moorman, Staff Writer


Every Christmas morning I watched with anticipation as families carried intricate statues up to our crèche (crib) in St. Mary’s Church, placing them inside and walking to a pew reserved for them. 

In all these years rarely has someone turned me down and if they did it was because they either weren’t able to because of health issues or they were going to be out of town. For this I am so thankful. 

I loved watching the little children carrying little lambs and the parents carrying Joseph and the one statue of Mary with Baby Jesus, whether is was a family of two, four or 10, as families processed down our long aisle to the crèche, where Father performed a blessing. 

There is significance to this Nativity scene. The crèche was carved and painted in Germany, purchased in 1901 for $500, according to the book “Magnificent and Beautiful Structures.” It has been restored by local businesess. The statues have also been restored and fixed when pieces have chipped off. 

The minute I heard the March 11 fire started in the north corner of the sacristy I knew the statues were gone, because that’s where they were stored. 

As a member of the liturgy committee I, and many other parishioners, have carried the statues, which were carefully wrapped in burlap, from the storage area in the sacristy to the crèche usually located on the left side of the altar and surrounded by real pine trees. The stained glass star hanging on the front of the crèche was made by parishioners. 

It took hours to prepare the church for Christmas, but it was worth it as we stood back and took it all in.

It started days before when real pine trees were cut down on the property of a parishioner who donated the huge trees. The custodians and volunteers carried the trees in through the church’s double doors and placed them in homemade tree stands, made by a parishioner. We decorated the trees with shiny Mylar. Other trees we decorated with white lights, placing the trees near the crib. Wreaths were placed at all of the entrances and near the choir loft. Flower arrangements, that we had to refluff, adorned windowsills. The statues were put in the crèche, other than the Three Kings which were hidden beneath the crèche and put in place for the Feast of the Epiphany, which was this last Sunday. 

Red and white poinsettias, purchased with money donated by parishioners in memory of loved ones who have passed away, were placed around the sanctuary and at the entrances. 

Like a young child on Christmas morning I looked forward to walking through the church doors on Christmas morning with Mom and taking in our Christmas scene. What a sight it was!

I missed that this year, much like I missed calling families to carry up statues. This year I was going to take the advice of someone I called last year who asked if my family had ever carried up the statues. Dad would have been so proud of us. 

  But I have faith our Christmas scene in St. Mary’s Church will once again grace the front of the church. Yes, the statues are gone, but no one can take away the memories that have been made.  

Memories that are now more precious than ever!

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