On Saturday, November 30, Custos of the Holy Land Fr. Francesco Patton, held the relic of the Holy Crib of the Child Lord Jesus and marched in the Star Street in the Old City of Bethlehem. He followed this path, as it was the one St. Joseph and Virgin Mary took on their way to what today is known as the Nativity Grotto. Fr. Patton’s entrance to Bethlehem kicks off Advent and Christmas celebrations.
A large number of faithful took part in the march including scouts who were playing melodies marking the grand event.
It is to be noted that the fragment of wood reputed for being from the manger where Lord Jesus Christ was laid after His humble birth went on display in Jerusalem on Friday, November 29, ahead of its transfer to Bethlehem for the official launch of the Christmas season.
The wood piece, just a few centimeters long, was once kept in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. It was handed over earlier this week to the custodian of the Bethlehem church, who said it brought “great honor to believers and pilgrims in the area”.
It was unveiled to the public at the Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center, encased in a silver-coloured ornamental table-top stand, and will later be taken to Bethlehem, known to Christians as the birthplace of Lord Jesus Christ.
“We are excited and thank the Pope, the holy father, Francis, for the gift and the right to safeguard the holy relic,” Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land for the Catholic church, said in a statement.
The relic, according to the statement, dates back more than 2,000 years and “was part of the Manger in which Baby Jesus was laid”. It was sent to the Vatican in the 7th century.