For the first time in the 20-year tradition of blessing a Nativity scene in center city Philadelphia, the blessing took place not at LOVE Park near city Hall, because of construction at the site, but on the corner of 18th and Race Streets at the foot of the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul.
Father Dennis Gill, rector of the cathedral and director of the archdiocesan Office for Divine Worship, led the Dec. 14 blessing of the creche. It was sponsored by the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Knights of Columbus, and featured students from St. Francis Xavier School in Philadelphia singing traditional Christmas carols. (Photos by Sarah Webb)
Students from St. Francis Xavier School sing Christmas carols at the blessing of the creche.
Patrick Stanton welcomes all to the 20th annual Blessing of the Nativity Scene.
Students from St. Francis Xavier School, int he city’s Fairmount section, provide music for the blessing event.
Father Dennis Gill, rector of the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul, leads the blessing ceremony for the creche now located at the corner of 18th and Race streets.
Seventh grader Cynthia Flores from the St. Francis Xavier School sings Christmas carols with fellow students.
Father Dennis Gill sprinkles the creche with holy water.
Lidya Roach and fellow students from St. Francis Xavier Elementary School perform Christmas carols at the blessing ceremony.
John Kelly from the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department gives students certificates from the Shepherds of Jesus Society.