Preparations begin for Christmas manger in St. Peter's Square

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In a tradition introduced by John Paul II during his papacy 35 years ago, St. Peter's Square will showcase a large Christmas manger beginning on December 7. 

Work has already begun in the square, as craftsmen are building the structure of the enclosure. 

These iron bars will provide support for the birth, which will occupy almost 900 square feet and measure nearly 23 feet tall. It will be composed of 20 life-size clay figures. The scene will be in the Neapolitan style of the 1970s. It's a gift from the Territorial Abbey of Montevergine, in Benevento, Italy. 

The idea seems to excite tourists who come to the square to see St. Peter's Basilica. 

“Putting a nativity scene here in St. Peter's Square seems completely normal to me, because it is, after all, a church. The nativity scene is a Christian representation of Christ's birth.”

“I think it's great. The nativity scene is the symbol of Christmas.”

The display will be unveiled on December 7, on the eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. However, in accordance with Italian tradition, the baby Jesus won't be placed in His manger until December 25. 

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