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Assisi: Basilica Christmas Tree, Crib Dedicated to Earthquake Victims

In 2015 the plight of migrants was the focus of the Christmas Tree and the Nativity Crib in the Lower Square of the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, this year, 2016, the focus is the earthquake victims of Central Italy. The Nativity scene under the tree is built around the stones of the Cathedral of Norcia and the Basilica of St. Benedict, which collapsed during the earthquake of October 30.

The 45-foot tree, offered by the Piedmont Region, comes from Valnerina, an area hit by an earthquake. The tree sent to Assisi was replaced by five other trees.

Thursday, December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Card. Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Congregation for the Integral Development of Human Services, presided over the lighting ceremony and blessing during a ceremony opened by the Custos of the Sacred Convent of Assisi, Fr. Mauro Gambetti.

Participants at the event were: Vera Baboun, Mayor of Bethlehem, Don Marco Rufini, Archpriest of the Co-Cathedral Parish of Santa Maria Argentea in Norcia, a representative of the Piedmont Region and several citizens from Norcia and refugees hosted by the Diocesan Caritas of Assisi.

Traditional Christmas songs sung by theIstituto Comprensivo Assisi 1 Children Chorus, were directed by Giulia Rinaldi and accompanied at the piano by Maetro Emiliano Piermatti.

The event was broadcast live on RAI and streamed live on www.sanfrancesco.org.

For the video of the ceremonty, click here

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