Presepio: An Exhibit Like No Other

Presepio: An Exhibit Like No Other

In the Roman Catholic tradition, a nativity scene or, in Italian, Presepio is the special exhibition of art objects representing the birth of Jesus. Saint Francis of Assisi is credited with creating the first live nativity scene in 1223 at Greccio in order to cultivate the worship of Christ. He himself had recently been inspired by his visit to the Holy Land, where he had been shown Jesus’ traditional birthplace. The Presepio exhibits figures epresenting the infant Jesus, his Blessed Mother Mary and her husband, Joseph. Other characters from the Nativity may be displayed near the manger in a barn intended to accommodate farm animals, as described in the Gospel of Luke. A donkey and an ox are typically depicted in the scene, and the Magi and their camels, described in the Gospel of Matthew, are also included. The Presepio also includes other characters, objects, and model figures to further develop the setting. This representation of the Nativity scene took Baroque form in Naples in the 17th Century and we at Saint Anthony’s High School have a handmade imported Presepio made of the finest materials and assembled by master Neopolitan craftsmen. May it foster and encourage devotion to Jesus Christ all year long as we worship and pray here at Saint Anthony’s.

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