December 25, 2010
The nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square, featuring nine Filipino statues to complement the traditional figures of the Holy Family, was unveiled during a solemn evening ceremony on December 24 at the Vatican City in Rome, the CBCP News website reported. The belen likewise features Filipino statues designed by Filipino sculptor, Kublai Ponce-Millan.
Millan’s sculptures signify different indigenous groups of the Philippines in a festive celebration of faith, music, food and family on the occasion of the birth of Jesus. According to the report, the attractive smiling figures dressed in colorful native attire and playing musical instruments, portray the joyful spirit of Philippine Christmas which is known as the “longest and most festive celebration in the world.”
His Eminence Giovanni Cardinal Lajolo, President of the Governorate of the Vatican City, commented that the Filipino statues were included in the nativity scene this year to recognize the special contribution of the Philippines, the largest Christian country in Asia, as well as the dynamic faith of Filipino Catholics.
Honorable Mercedes A. Tuason, Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See, meanwhile, thanked the Governorate of the Vatican City for giving the Philippines a special place in the center of the church’s celebration of Christmas this year. She added that this event marked the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the Holy See, the report said.