LIMA — On Sunday, St. John Catholic Church in Lima brought back an old tradition, a live nativity, complete with those portraying characters that were thought to be present in what Christians believed to be the birth of Jesus in a manger in Bethlehem.
“This is really cool. We were excited to bring the kids out and they love the animals, yep, very cool,” said Ki Griffo who viewed the live nativity with her husband and children.
“It’s a static scene. We have not done anything of this kind in over 50-some years here at St. John’s so it’s a renewed new venture for us. We’re very excited because we do have live animals as well as the live actors and singers and the guitar player,” said Mary Blanche Hengstler, organizer of the live nativity.
We’re all familiar with the tale. Mary and Joseph needed a place to stay because she was pregnant and about to give birth but the only space they could find was in a manger and that’s where she gave birth to the baby Jesus.
“It’s about the birth of Jesus and the coming of the savior of the world. We see it as a coming together. Religion is a man-made thing, not a God-made thing and this is about God. God still is God and we would like to have everybody come together in unity in our love of God and our love of Jesus Christ,” said Hengstler.
Twenty-five actors from St. John and St. Rose parishes participated in the live nativity, portraying Mary, Joseph, the three wise men and angels. There was also a guitar-playing minstrel performing with his backup singers, as they played Christmas carols.
Many more worked behind the scenes.
“There are so many. I’ve got kitchen help, of course, a kitchen operator/manager, a lady that made so many phone calls and then, of course, the financial staff, the parish council was all involved to help. There’s probably 75 to 100 people who have helped out through both parishes,” said Hengstler.
It’s possible the live nativity will be back next year.
“We originally talked about doing it one weekend here and one weekend at the other parish but decided for the first venture we would come together and see how that went and maybe next year that’s what we’ll do,” said Hengstler.
The spectacle also included several animals. There was a camel, a cow, a donkey and sheep to add a bit of realism to how the virgin birth might have been like more than 2,000 years ago.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.