Come see the Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square!

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The Holy Family in this year’s Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square. The Vatican unveiled the scene Dec. 24. (CNS/Carol Glatz)

VATICAN CITY — Vatican officials unveiled the Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square today. Journalists were given a sneak peek a few days before to take come crowd-free shots.

The scene is more than 180 square yards and recreates the ancient Italian city of Matera and its famed “sassi” — cliff-clinging churches, buildings, streets and grottos carved out of the mountainside.

This was the first time the Vatican used a donated scene in the main square in front of St. Peter’s Basilica. Since 1982, when a creche was first erected in the square at the request of Blessed John Paul II, the Vatican covered the costs of creating and building a different scene each year using larger-than-life 19th-century figures.

In fact, what’s noticeable different is the size. The actual scene is smaller and the figures are barely a foot tall. There is a huge amount of detail, but you need to view it through your zoom lens to really see it.

Our gift to you this Christmas is to offer you some close-up shots of the creche. Follow the link, turn on some Christmas music and enjoy!!

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