OLPH displays custom-made Italian nativity scene until Wednesday


A custom nativity scene filled with handcrafted figures imported from Italy will be displayed at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church until Wednesday. Each figure, made by world-renowned artist Angela Tripi, is composed of terracotta and dressed in genuine, starched clothing.

“She has been enthralled with the idea of a nativity since she was a little girl in her 20s,” said OLPH pastor Monsignor Thomas Petrillo. “She started creating these nativity scenes recognized all over the world for her art.”

Petrillo traveled to Tripi’s studio in Palermo, Sicily where he picked more than 30 handmade figures to portray 1st-century Bethlehem. Nativity scenes, a tradition in the Catholic Church, depict traditional village life. Tripi’s inspiration behind the figures came from a mix of 1st century Bethlehem and figures that would come in a later period of Italy.

“The powerful message there is that God comes and enters the world in the midst of the ordinary, in the rhythms of ordinary, daily life,” said Petrillo.

The parishioners assisted Petrillo in bringing the scene to life and creating the exhibit.

It was the parishioners who came together to build the base, another one built the walls of it, another family worked on creating the buildings,” said Petrillo. “It was a great project that brought people together to create this 1st century Bethlehem village.”

The figures are planned to be stored at the church until the next advent, and the committee has plans to expand upon the project.