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PHOTOS AND ALBUMS

CHRISTMAS IN SUMMER

  • Already in the first day open to the public the Nativity scene had received visitors from many Northern Hemisphere countries. A perusal of the photo albums reveal a photograph of two delightful Korean children under an umbrella, and a German family enjoying the summer's day in Cathedral Square. Many from the Northern Hemisphere find it 'strange' to experience a summer Christmas. It is incongruous after all to find 'snow' painted on shop windows in 30+ degree heat. Australians, long used to a continent of contrasts don't seem to notice this oddity, however, they would find it even stranger not to be able to take the children to the beach at Christmas. It seems it is only the visitors who are confused, and the weather is so enjoyable that they soon forget other climates. On a practical note, this is the first time that a set of Demetz Nativity figures have been installed in an outdoor setting like this, as in colder places they are always indoors. This typically Sydney experiment has proved to be a great success already, and the summer warmth is bringing people to the piazza to enjoy the air and summer flowers, and of course this extraordinary Nativity for all the people.

CHRISTMAS IN BETHLEHEM

  • CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS IN BETHLEHEM
    Over recent years the Isreali/Palestinian conflict has reduced visitor numbers, but even so, people come from all over the world to find the place of His birth. A silver star is raised on a pole in the town centre, and every Christian home has a cross over the front door. Traditionally, each family also makes a small manger scene. On Christmas Eve crowds gather around the Church and on it's roof as a procession lead by a horseman carrying a Cross arrives to place an effigy of the Christ child into a crib in the Church.
  • THE CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY
    Looking at the right side of our Nativity the building in the painting is the real Church of The Nativity in Bethlehem. The oldest part was built shortly after the Crucifiction on the place said to be the place of the birth of Christ by the early Church. Inside the Church there are stairs leading to a grotto where a silver star marks the spot.

CHRISTMAS IN ROME

  • NATIVITY CRIBS IN CHURCHES
    Ever since the time of St Francis Roman Churches have made Nativity scenes each year. Some such as S Maria in Aracoeli have elaborate paintings and numerous figures made in earlier centuries.
  • THE VATICAN
    Each year the pope goes to the Piazza S Pietro at the time of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception to bless the Bambinelli, the small Christ child figures that are sold for home Nativity's. On Christmas Eve he celebrates Midnight Mass in the Vatican Basilica, and on Christmas Day he delivers a special message that is televised and broadcast around the world.
  • PIAZZA S PIETRO
    Pope John Paul II started a tradition in 1982 of erecting a giant Christmas Tree and Nativity scene in the Square. Each year a different country donates the tree, this year it is Austria's honour. It is 28 metres tall. The Nativity Scene has 17 life size figures in it.
  • FAMILIES
    It is a time in Rome centered on the family with the traditional eating of fish, and midnight Mass very important components. On Christmas Eve the bells start ringing for the mass and around midnight in the quiet streets whole families attend their local Churches for Mass.

LATEST NEWS AND 2006 SCHEDULE POSTED BELOW

CARDINAL GEORGE PELL, ARCHBISHOP OF SYDNEY

  • . The Nativity scene in Cathedral Square was instigated by Cardinal Pell who has been concerned over the gradual removal of Christ as the central message of Christmas. Cardinal Pell says "I would invite all people of good will to come and spend some time reflecting on the central role of Jesus in Christmas, to take time out from Christmas parties, end of school activities and present buying to prepare their hearts for Christmas and the coming again of the Son of God as man."

2006 SCHEDULE

  • BLESSING OF THE OUTDOOR NATIVITY SCENE
    Friday, 1st December 6.30pm in Cathedral Square

    Cardinal Pell invites all to come and reflect on the key message of Christmas, God’s gift of His Son, Jesus, whose birth we celebrate. Special family entertainment following the blessing.
    ______________

    ADVENT CAROLS
    From Darkness to Light Sunday 3rd December at 7.30pm

    An evening of readings and music with the St. Mary’s Cathedral Choir to mark the first Sunday of Advent and to prepare for Christmas.
    __________

    CAROLS WITH ‘THE SONG COMPANY’
    Thursday, 14th December at 7.00pm in the Crypt

    The most beautiful carols and Christmas songs from around the world, performed by Australia’s own acappella ensemble, The Song Company. Acclaimed as one of the most outstanding vocal groups in the world and recognized as ‘peerless’ with a sound and performance style that is ‘pure vocal bliss’ the group presents a special one-off performance in the unique surroundings of the Crypt at St Mary’s Cathedral.
    __________

    SACRED VOICES CHRISTMAS SONG CYCLE ‘SOUTHERN STAR’
    Sunday, 17th December 3.30pm in the Crypt

    The young women of the Cathedral Voices and the trebles and two altos from the Cathedral Choir will be performing a new work by well known Jesuit priest and composer, Fr. Christopher Willcock. Fr. Willcock has collaborated with writer/cartoonist Michael Leunig to produce a set of nine pieces reflecting on the birth and life of Jesus Christ.
    __________

    ANNUAL CAROL SERVICE
    Thursday, 21st December at 7.30pm

    The Cathedral's spectacular and renowned Christmas Carols Service and Readings with the St. Mary’s Cathedral Choir. This well loved event will be presided over by Cardinal Pell. The night will consist of a rich selection of traditional carols and liturgical Christmas music.
    __________

    THE CHRISTMAS STORY
    Daily 10am to 4pm

    Catholic Students Arts Exhibition (Years 5 & 6) The winning artwork and up to 60 pieces will be displayed in the Cathedral Crypt throughout the month of December.
    __________

SPONSORS

  • Gosford Quarries
  • Sydney Catholic Schools
  • SNP Security
  • Tony Johansen
  • David & Colleen McIntosh
  • The Art of Faith
  • Sothertons Chartered Accountants
  • The Friends of St Mary's Cathedral
  • W N Bull (Mr & Mrs John Harris)
  • St Mary's Cathedral Flower Festival
  • Paula Flynn
  • Catholic Cemetaries Board
  • Harris Farm Markets Pty Ltd

NATIVITY AND CHRISTMAS FACTS

  • 5 metres
    The hieght of the Nativity in Cathedral Square, It is 8 metres wide and 4 metres deep. The Christmas tree in the centre of the square is 6 metres high.
  • 1982
    The year Pope John Paul II started the donation by various countries of a giant Christmas tree for the Piazza S Pietro in Rome.
  • 1510 AD
    The date when the first Christmas trees were recorded, although it is possible they have an older origin.
  • 1223 AD
    St Francis made the first Nativity Scene as a way of communicating the true meaning of Christmas. The idea proved so popular that it soon spread throughout the Christian world.

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