Vatican announces plans for nativity scene

Dec. 13, 2012 at 8:32 PM

VATICAN CITY, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- This year's Vatican nativity scene in St. Peter's Square is being offered by the Basilicata region in southern Italy, church officials say.

The Vatican said sponsors will cover most of the cost, Agenzia Giornalistica Italica reported. The Roman Catholic Church will pay 21,800 euros ($28,500) with 90,000 euros ($117,600) from elsewhere.

The scene will include a reproduction of the old town area in the city of Matera, the famed "Sassi di Matera," Vatican Radio said. Joseph and Mary will guard their infant son in a cave like those where many residents of Matera still live.

Francesco Artese, a native of Matera who has become known for nativity scenes in Bethlehem and elsewhere, is in charge of the design.

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