VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican's Christmas tree and
Nativity scene will feature traditional designs and decorations centered on the
theme of mercy.
A towering 92-foot spruce tree will be the centerpiece of
the Vatican's Christmas holidays, according to a note released Oct. 25 by the governing office of
The tree, which measures nearly 33 feet in diameter, will be
donated by the Archdiocese of Elk, Poland, and transported to the Vatican on a flat-bed
truck traveling over 1,240 miles across central Europe, the Vatican said.
The Nativity scene, instead, will be donated by the Benedictine Abbey of Montevergine,
located in southern Italy,
and created in an "18th century style according to the oldest Neapolitan
a surface of over 860 square feet, the Nativity scene will be "inspired
by the works of mercy" and will feature 20 terracotta figures, some as tall as 6 feet, the
governing office said.
As it was last year, the Christmas tree will be adorned with
ornaments made by children receiving treatment at several Italian hospitals.
"These children, with their parents, participated in a
ceramics recreational therapy program" organized by the Countess Lene Thune Foundation,
which provides therapeutic
recreation to young boys and girls suffering from oncological and
hematological disorders, the Vatican said.
Additionally, children from the central Italian Archdiocese
of Spoleto-Norcia, which was
devastated by earthquakes in 2016, will also make ornaments for the Christmas
Several of the children and a delegation from Poland will
meet with Pope Francis at an audience the morning of Dec. 7; that evening, the Vatican will
hold a tree-lighting ceremony.
The tree will remain in St. Peter's Square until the feast
of the Lord's Baptism Jan.
7, the Vatican said.