New Cathedral Nativity scene invites the community renew its hope after a challenging 2020
November 27, 2020
Christmas, Parish life
In a year marked by tragedy, isolation and sorrow, the Catholic Church in Wollongong is inviting the community to renew their hope by visiting a brand-new, beautifully constructed nativity scene on the grounds of St Francis Xavier Cathedral from Sunday 28 November.
Wollongong Cathedral’s Nativity scene is inspired by a rich tradition dating back to the 13th century, when St Francis of Assisi created the first nativity set to remind children and adults that true happiness can only be found when we look beyond our material circumstances.
The vicar general of the Diocese of Wollongong, Fr Bernard Gordon, says one of the great themes of Advent is the consolation God brings to his people—especially in the midst of trials like the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Advent is a season of hope and fulfilment of long-held expectations,” he says. “As we prepare to celebrate the arrival of the Infant Jesus, we are reminded that despite the difficulties we face in life, there is a joy freely available to us that transcends our immediate circumstances.”
The Nativity scene is located outdoors on the Cathedral grounds and will remain open throughout December. A range of COVIDsafe measures will be in place to support the safety and wellbeing of people visiting the scene.
Fr Bernard says the beauty of the love shared by Jesus, Mary and Joseph reminds us of the importance of showing love and comfort to others, especially during difficult times.
“We are inviting everyone to experience this sense of love and comfort by spending some time before the Christmas crib,” says Fr Bernard. “It’s our hope that people will leave renewed and ready to spread the peace and joy that is at the heart of the Christmas message, and needed more than ever this year.”
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Our diocesan logo is theologically rich and very succinct. As a hand, it depicts our mission as a diocese and as individuals within the diocese, of bearing (bringing, carrying) Christ’s love to one another and to the world around us. In this, we are the hand of Jesus Christ, and we are offering ourselves to him so that he might work through us.
We can be the bearers of his love only as a response to his call and in the strength of his grace. We are reminded of this in two ways—through the symbol of the dove (the Holy Spirit) also present in the logo, and by the incorporation of the cross that segments the logo. The presence of the cross is a reminder that bearing the love of Christ will inevitably cost us if we live it authentically. However, in the way that the Cross is the portent of redemption and life—an echo of the tree of life in the book of Genesis—so becoming bearers of the love of Christ will also bring us to life.
The four fingers of the hand also represent the four regions of our diocese. The first is bluerepresenting the beautiful water of the Shoalhaven. The second is a blue and green combination representing the waters and escarpment of the Illawarra. The third is greendepicting the hills and plains of the Macarthur. The fourth is dark green illustrating the forests of the Southern Highlands.