Christmas, butter and gingerbread

(CNS photo/The Catholic Mirror)

In the Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa, Catholic Charities is raising awareness of the plight of the homeless this holiday season. The agency’s strategy includes drawing on a longtime Iowa State Fair tradition, writes Anne Marie Cox, editor of  The Catholic Mirror, the diocesan newspaper. The agency asked state fair butter sculptor Sarah Pratt to create a sculture of the Holy Family — out of butter.

It was the featured Nativity at the agency’s annual fundraising event, No Room at the Inn, Dec. 3-5. More than 300 creches from around the world were on display. The butter from Pratt’s sculpture will be recycled for next year’s state fair sculpture. Catholic Charities spokeswoman Trish Radke told the Mirror: “By depicting the Holy Family in a time-honored Iowa tradition of butter sculpture, we hope to remind people that Joseph and Mary had no place to stay when Jesus was born.”

“We hope people will be moved to action and support programs and services that provide men, women and children with life’s basic necessities. We offer dignity and hope to families who are struggling,” she added. One facility operated by Catholic Charities is St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter.

On the East Coast, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington has been rendered in gingerbread by a pastry chef at a top-notch hotel, according to the website Georgetown Patch. The national shrine’s spokeswoman told CNS in an e-mail that Msgr. Walter Rossi, the rector, has talked with Charles Froke, executive pastry chef at the Four Seasons in Georgetown, who told the priest that after Christmas he’ll be giving his creation to the shrine, which plans to put it on display.

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